UFC President Dana White appears to be in no rush to give Curtis Blaydes a heavyweight title shot.
Although White conceded Blaydes is the No. 2 contender in the division behind Francis Ngannou, he said winner of the UFC on ESPN 11 headliner is better suited getting back into the octagon quickly rather than waiting for a title shot.
“First of all, his two losses are to Francis,” White told reporters after Blaydes’ workmanlike decision over Alexander Volkov at Saturday’s event at UFC APEX. “How do you give him the title fight over Francis? But yeah, he would be considered next in line. With his performance tonight and his cardio, I wouldn’t wait around if I was him. I’d stay active. I’d stay busy.
“I like Curtis Blaydes, but Curtis Blaydes has the wrong attitude, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t have anything against the kid at all. When you talk sh*t like he talked this week, you better come in and whoop somebody’s ass when you talk sh*t like that. When you talk the sh*t that he talked and perform like you performed tonight, you look stupid.”
Prior to the bout, Blaydes promised to dominate Volkov and further cement his argument to fight for the title, which first goes up for grabs on Aug. 15 with a trilogy between heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier. He struggled to maintain his wrestling dominance as the fight went on and ended the fight on the defensive as Volkov surged late. Still, he took home a unanimous decision with 49-46, 48-47 and 48-46 scores.
It was not the most fan-friendly fight, a fact that Blaydes acknowledged afterward. But White’s proposal made him visibly frustrated when he sat down to the post-fight podium after White.
“Stay busy against who? I’ve fought Justin Willis, ranked below me,” Blaydes said. “I’ve fought [Shamil] Abdurakhimov, ranked below me, I’ve fought Junior [Dos Santos], ranked below me. I’ve fought Volkov, ranked below me. Like, what? No. I don’t know, man. This is probably not the best time for me to answer that question, so I’m just going to leave that alone.”
In an interview with MMA Fighting, Blaydes clarified he didn’t necessarily consider himself next in line after Ngannou. But he did say he only wanted to face contenders in the future and expressed frustration at not knowing his career trajectory.
If White’s comments are any indication of where Blaydes stands, “Razor” could have some more work to do before he finds out.
“He won,” White said. “He talked a lot of sh*t coming in this week. I don’t think you talk the sh*t that he talked this week and come in and perform like that, talking about rag-dolling people and he’s not getting paid, he should be getting a title shot. He gassed out at the end of the third round, made it to the fifth and won the fight. Yeah, he won.”