Curtis Blaydes said Justin Willis’ trash talk was “a new element” to his ordinary fight week routine, but one that didn’t phase him in the slightest.
Blaydes dominated Willis last weekend in the UFC Nashville co-main event. Blaydes’ takedowns were what sealed the deal; Willis couldn’t stop them and ultimately wasn’t able to do much of anything through three rounds. Blaydes earned two 10-8 rounds on one judge’s scorecard.
But ahead of the fight, Willis took every opportunity to smack talk the top heavyweight contender. It wasn’t something Blaydes was used to, but he brushed it off as best he could.
“He came out in interviews calling me out on my name, disrespecting my skill set — just a lot of over-the-top antics,” Blaydes told Bloody Elbow. “It was all out of the blue. I didn’t instigate anything, I didn’t egg him on. He just kept at it. ... It was annoying, but I wasn’t frustrated.”
“Razor” didn’t consider the fight personal, however, as Willis’ tactics weren’t successful.
“I’m not gonna give him that type of credit,” Blaydes said. “He was just an a-hole, and I don’t like a-holes. So I just took a special pleasure of being able to beat him.
“He likes to get in people’s heads, and I guess he thought that was gonna get me overly emotional and maybe drag me into a slugfest. ... It was an idiotic plan, but I guess that was the best he had.”
Blaydes, known to be quiet and respectful, said this was the first time he’s had an opponent talk “even a hint” of trash to him before a fight. And because of it, Blaydes was more satisfied than usual after Saturday’s win.
“We don’t really have any heavyweights that are disrespectful like that,” Blaydes said. “There’s no need for that. I’m never gonna be one who’s gonna instigate it. And I hope that all my opponents in the future have enough respect for me and respect for all the professionalism that comes with this job that they don’t bring smack talk into the arena.”