“I wasn’t impressed at all, actually, because until this point, she never really fought against an opponent at a high level,” Fiorot said about Blanchfield during UFC Paris media day. “I think this fight showed her real level, and so I wasn’t really that impressed, no.
“I’m 100 percent sure that if I put on a good performance in this fight, considering the performance we’ve seen from Santos and Blanchfield, I’m going to be fighting for the belt.”
In response, Blanchfield took the high road. But she didn’t back down from her call for a title shot against the winner of the upcoming fight between Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko at Noche UFC on Sept. 16.
Even if Fiorot gets past Namajunas this weekend, Blanchfield believes she still has the better overall resume in the division.
“I think Manon, she’s definitely a solid fighter,” Blanchfield said. “She’s a good striker. I don’t think she has much on the ground. She definitely relies more on her striking.
“I feel like I definitely have more wins against better opponents than she does in the division. I think she’s a great fighter in her own right, but I feel like I deserve that over her.”
Blanchfield and Fiorot have eerily similar resumes, especially if Fiorot beats Namajunas at UFC Paris. Both are undefeated in the UFC, with Blanchfield boasting a 6-0 record with three finishes, while Fiorot currently sits at 5-0 with a pair of knockouts.
Even if their records are exactly the same after Saturday, there are still questions that need answered before anybody starts celebrating a title shot.
The outcome in the rematch between Grasso and Shevchenko stands as the biggest obstacle to either Blanchfield or Fiorot. Injuries, a questionable result, or even an emphatic finish could lead to time off for the winner of the flyweight title fight – even a potential trilogy.
If there’s a significant delay before another flyweight title fight gets booked, Blanchfield proposed another possible solution.
“I feel like she’s going to beat Rose,” Blanchfield said about Fiorot. “I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Rose won either, she’s a great fighter in her own right, but style-wise, and with her size, I think [Manon] is going to win.
“Let’s say Valentina and Alexa fight a third time, and [Manon] wins her fight in the meantime, I’d love to fight her to show who’s the No. 1 contender.”
Whether it’s the winner of Grasso vs. Shevchenko, or possibly whoever’s left standing between Fiorot and Namajunas, Blanchfield knows there are a lot of options on the table for her. She won’t make any decisions regarding her career until after there’s more clarity in the division, but her long-term goal remains the same no matter what.
“Those two fights, me and Taila and then Manon and Rose, I feel like either of us could end up getting the title [shot],” Blanchfield said. “Obviously, Rose is a big name, so I feel like if she wins the fight, she definitely could get it. I feel like I definitely deserve it the most on paper, but you don’t really know what’s going to happen.
“I feel like even if I have to fight another fight and then fight for the title, it’s inevitable. It doesn’t matter. I’ll beat everybody before I get the title [or] after I get the title. It’s going to happen either way.”