“I don’t think he read everything I said,” Blaydes said on The MMA Hour. “I think he read the first line and was just like, ‘Ah!’ But all I said was I picked Stipe over Jon Jones, because Stipe has five-round title fight experience at heavyweight. With Jon, he does not. Why does that make you angry?
“I also said, ‘Jon, he hasn’t shown he has one-punch knockout power,’ which isn’t a bad thing. There’s a lot of guys who don’t have one-punch knockout power that have the belt. Khabib, he had the belt. Izzy, does he have one-punch knockout power? There’s a lot of guys that don’t have one-punch knockout power.”
Of course, Jones is known for quick clap-backs at those who criticize his abilities or challenge his octagon authority. The ex-champ never fails to heckle rivals on Twitter, particularly after a setback in the octagon. Two-time opponent Daniel Cormier and middleweight champ Israel Adesanya are two of his favorite targets, but he makes time for anyone who takes a shot at him.
“Focus on your fight this weekend Tiny, you’ve been rooting against me for years now,” Jones wrote. “I see you. Hating on me won’t propel you into being a champion. Less hate, more work.”
In this case, the slight was Blaydes’ opinions about his heavyweight experience and punching power, expressed on a recent episode of The Fighter vs. The Writer. Jones does not, in fact, have any five-round heavyweight fights under his belt — he has yet to officially book his debut in the big-man division after a long standoff over the particulars of his UFC contract — and the majority of Jones’ stoppage wins have come by way of his fearsome ground-and-pound, not his crosses and hooks.
“I don’t understand why he took such offense to what I said, but I’m over it,” Blaydes said. “I don’t feel like I said anything super disrespectful or super aggressive. Maybe he had a few too many drinks that night. I don’t know.”
Blaydes has bigger things on his mind, namely, generating momentum after a disappointing injury TKO win in his outing against Tom Aspinall this past Saturday at UFC London. Although he counts it as a victory and plans to wait for a step up in competition, like the winner of Tai Tuivasa vs. Gane at UFC Paris, or even the winner of Jones vs. Miocic, he is rightfully looking to make a better argument for a title shot.
With champ Francis Ngannou’s future in question due to approaching free agency, Blaydes sees an alternative that could benefit him.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t be angry with the interim thing if they do Jon Jones vs. Stipe,” he said. “At least it gives me a goal, like a trajectory, like, ‘OK, I beat the winner of Tuivasa-Gane, I get the winner of Stipe-Jones, and at least I have an interim belt. And that means I get the guy who has the real belt.’ That’ll be something, and I can live with that.”
If that’s Jones, all the better for Blaydes. Maybe Jones will be mad enough to pick him next. “Bones” is already making childish cracks at his stature.
“I’m like, ‘Bro, you know I’m not tiny,’” Blaydes said. “I don’t know what that was about.
“If they hit me up for Jon, I’m down. I’ll take that fight.”