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Curtis Blaydes shoots down waiting for Tom Aspinall rematch: ‘I’m not risking my ranking’

Curtis Blaydes was just as frustrated as everyone else following his win in UFC London’s main event, which ended in 15 seconds after Tom Aspinall suffered a knee injury.

“I have no idea what happened,” Blaydes said at the UFC London post-fight press conference. “He landed the kick, I went to counter, he dropped. That’s all I know.

“I’m frustrated. No one wants to win like that. I got the win, I hold my ranking, I get the money. But without a highlight, did it even happen? Did the fight even happen? Is this going to be in the news next week? Am I going to get an interview with Ariel Helwani? Am I going to be on YouTube? Am I going to gain 50,000 Instagram followers? No. So I’m disappointed about all of that, but nothing we can do about it now.”

It was an unfortunate conclusion to a fight that was supposed to answer plenty of questions about Aspinall’s potential in the UFC heavyweight division and Blaydes’ title chances. It was also supposed to be an important crossroads for Blaydes, a longtime contender who was slotted as the betting underdog despite a sterling 12-3 record in his six-year UFC run.

That part is even more frustrating for Blaydes, because even after the limited in-cage time he had opposite Aspinall, “Razor” is confident he could’ve made a thunderous statement.

“Everyone was hyping up [Aspinall’s] speed. He’s not as fast as you guys make it seem to be,” Blaydes said. “I know it was only 15 seconds, but every exchange, he got touched. In a lot of his highlights, when he’s sparking these guys, it’s because they’re stagnant. They don’t move their feet, which is what I do. So I just don’t believe the hype. I don’t think he’s as fast as everyone thought he was. Obviously he’s also not as big as everyone made him out to be. I felt like I was bigger, more athletic, more explosive, and obviously I think my bones are stronger, because he landed the kick on me and he ended up getting injured.

“So I don’t know. It’s a weird night. Really hard to come up with witty answers with a win like that. It’s hard to be hyped up about it.”

The loss is Aspinall’s first of his UFC run, halting the Englishman’s five-fight win streak since debuting in the promotion.

Blaydes, on the other hand, has now technically won seven of his past eight bouts. He’s currently MMA Fighting’s No. 5 ranked heavyweight in world and was eyeing a big-time matchup against the winner of September’s UFC Paris main event between Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa. So even though he’s unhappy with the method of Saturday’s win, Blaydes isn’t willing to change his plans in an effort to wait for Aspinall to return to full health.

“I’m not risking my ranking [for an immediate rematch],” Blaydes said. “I won the fight. Heading into this fight, I envisioned the winner — which is me — would be fighting the winner of [Tai] Tuivasa and [Ciryl] Gane. So I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to fight those guys when it’s right there, to wait for Tom Aspinall to heal and run it back.

“As long as I knock out the next guy, the hype’s back. MMA is like that. You could win four fights in a row, lose a fight, everyone says you suck. You could lose three in a row, win one, and you’re the greatest in the world. So the last fight’s the only one that matters.”

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