Curtis Blaydes is on a four-fight win streak, including a win over Alexander Volkov, whose recent win over Alistair Overeem likely had title shot implications. There’s nothing to indicate that Volkov has magically leapfrogged over Blaydes. Blaydes is set to face Derrick this weekend. Meanwhile, Jairzinho Rozenstruik will fight Ciryl Gane February 27, and then there’s Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 slated for March 3.
A lot’s happening to clear up the Heavyweight title picture, but a highlight performance always helps a little bit more, and Blaydes is acutely aware of that after Dana White criticized his victory over Volkov.
“You shouldn’t be disrespectful about how the win happened. That’s one thing I don’t understand,” he told ESPN (transcription via Sherdog). “Why do you bash your fighters who are actually legit, who can be future champions? You can hate me. You can hate my wrestling. You cannot deny I am on the path to being a champion. Why bash me? I don’t understand that.”
White’s criticism was fairly tepid by Dana’s standards, but Blaydes’ point remains valid: it’s hard to promote fighters when you’re telling everyone what they can’t do.
For Blaydes, something way more important is at stake than whether or not a win can satisfy the short attention span crowd.
“If I win the exact same way, I would be fine, because guess what, it’s another win, it’s a win bonus. I don’t know if a lot of people care, but I have a family. I’m trying to feed my family. I don’t care if you want me to risk my win bonus, which is $100,000, to stand and bang with a guy who has terrible wrestling. I’m just not going to do it. Unless you defend every takedown attempt, I’m not going to stop trying to wrestle you. You have to deter me, and I don’t think Derrick is going to deter me.”
Dana loves to sell a grudge match. Even when the story doesn’t add up, or make a lick of sense. I guess that’s why he forgets, for many men and women, this is simply a job.