Curtis Blaydes is always keeping a close eye on the heavyweight division, even as he prepares for his upcoming fights. After Jon Jones’ debut battle for the title against Ciryl Gane back at UFC 285, Blaydes was intrigued to see how things played out. But the truth is, Blaydes already knows most of what he learned after Jones secured a single takedown that ended with a guillotine choke just over two minutes into the fight.
Blaydes said, “There wasn’t much to extract from the first exchange. We learned Ciryl Gane will never be a good grappler, and there are people who won’t want to grapple, even after fighting for 10, or 15 years. That’s what I learned from that. He’s not ever going to adapt when it comes to grappling. I didn’t expect him to outgrapple Jon Jones, but at least put up a fight. He had no idea what to do.”
Blaydes believes he wouldn’t have the same kind of problems in the octagon with Jones that Gane had. As the fighter with 62 takedowns in UFC heavyweight history and the most top control with an hour and six minutes spent mauling his opposition, Blaydes genuinely thinks that he would present Jones with problems he’s yet to face before, particularly at heavyweight.
Blaydes pointed out his size, wrestling, athleticism, speed, and agility, which are all he thinks he needs to match up with a talent like Jon Jones. Blaydes thinks that even though Jones has a longer reach, it’s not a problem as long as he can find a way to get in his zone and range. Blaydes believes that once I take anyone down, the chances are in his favor.
Blaydes is excited about the matchup between Jones and Stipe Miocic in late 2023. Jones would only need to defend the heavyweight title four times to break the UFC record, which could be enough incentive for him to stay for a while. Blaydes would be thrilled to get a chance to compete with someone like Jones, who is widely regarded as the greatest MMA fighter in history.
Blaydes currently wants to focus on his fight against Sergei Pavlovich at UFC Vegas 71. He cautions anyone who thinks that Jones is already predestined to beat Miocic; it might be a challenging fight that Jon can’t manage.