Curtis Blaydes makes his return to the Octagon for the first time in 2021, searching for a ticket to a UFC heavyweight title shot.
Curtis Blaydes has remained a mainstay in the UFC heavyweight division for the past few years. He has not lost since Nov. 2018, as he suffered a TKO loss to Francis Ngannou, who is scheduled to fight the current champion, Stipe Miocic, in a rematch on March 27.
After the defeat at the hands of Ngannou, the Chicago-native put together a four-fight winning streak, which included victories against ex-UFC champion Junior dos Santos, Justin Willis, and most recently, Alexander Volkov.
Blaydes was scheduled to face Derrick Lewis, another former heavyweight title challenger, in Nov. 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic halted those plans. Unfortunately for Blaydes, he also contracted the virus himself.
Both men will meet in the main event of UFC Vegas 19, as the winner will likely move one step closer to a title shot in the near future.
During his pre-fight media scrum, Blaydes was confident that the fight would remain in-tact for as long as it did.
”I think it was the most important,” Blaydes said. “This was the only matchup that made any sense due to our rankings and just no one else, like, being in the top-5 besides him or me. And vice-versa for him. I don’t think he has anyone else. So, I wasn’t even like really worried that we weren’t going to reschedule this. I was pretty confident in that.”
Blaydes overcame a two-week virus outbreak, which prevented him from training or taking another fight prior to the year’s end.
”It was about two weeks [that I had the virus],” Blaydes explained. “I didn’t have any of the respiratory issues, but I did have headaches, muscle aches, and chills. So, it took about two weeks for that to all go away, and the fatigue. The fatigue took a little longer. Like, just being tired randomly throughout the day. That was about a month, but I don’t have any long-term effects like Khamzat [Chimaev]. I know a lot of people do, but I’m just happy that I didn’t get that.”
Curtis Blaydes has been with the UFC since 2016
Blaydes currently sits at 14-2 as a professional with his only two defeats coming to Ngannou. Alistar Overeem, Mark Hunt, and Alexey Oleynik are just a few of the names he has beaten throughout his UFC tenure.
Blaydes will headline his second-straight event Saturday night, which will air exclusively on ESPN+.
UFC Vegas 19 takes place on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.