Ask and you shall receive. We all know that isn’t always the case when making requests in the UFC. But for #4 ranked heavyweight and Naperville native Curtis Blaydes (9-1), his wish of fighting in his hometown was answered as he will take on #2 ranked superstar Alistair Overeem (43-16) tomorrow night at UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero 2 live from the United Center in Chicago, IL.
“I feel great,” said Blaydes. “I haven’t been able to fight here in Chicago since 2014. It’s good being able to have my family and friends be able to actually watch me live and then after the fight being able to hang out with them and enjoy the win.”
Having only been in the UFC now for just over two years, Blaydes has quickly worked his way up the division’s ladder and comes into this fight on a three fight win streak, the last win being over heavy-handed Mark Hunt. And Blaydes feels like if he can get past Overeem a title shot should come quickly there after. “I should be next in line,” explained Blaydes. “Ngannou is ranked number one and he just had a crack at the title. I should be next. Based of the matchups and the time frame of everything, I should be next.”
And you would think preparing for a fighter with the experience and championship caliber that Overeem holds would make you go back to the drawing board and come with something different. But Blaydes comes in with the” if it aint broke don’t fix it” mentality that has gotten him to where he is now. “My camps are usually the same,” said Blaydes. “We don’t make a lot of huge adjustments for different opponents. I just do what I always do and use my boxing get in and grab him and get it to the ground.”
Over the past few months, UFC 225 has blown up into the biggest card of the year so far and some are saying that if everything goes off how it’s supposed to, it could be one the biggest card in UFC history. Blaydes has made it a point not to focus on who else is on the card, only his task at hand. I’ve actually done a pretty good job of not allowing the moment or whoever else is involved affect my mindset, “said Blaydes. “I treat it like any other card. If you allow yourself to get caught up in that it can distract you. I won’t allow for that to happen.”
Blaydes seems fully aware that this is a big fight for him on Saturday night. And for heavyweights, being derailed from a fast rise to the top can be detrimental to your career. So Blaydes want the win however he can get it. “This isn’t what you probably want to hear but I’m not looking to impress the fans,” explained Blaydes. “Going out there to impress the fans could easily end up in a loss for me and I’m not going to do that. I just need to win, by any means necessary. I want to win and I want that win bonus.”
Curtis Blaydes faces Alistair Overeem in the main event of the FS1 Prelims of UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero 2 live from the United Center in Chicago, IL. FS1 Prelims start at 8pm ET/5pm PT with the main card at 10pm ET/7pm PT on PPV.
Photo credit: Getty Images/Zuffa, LLC.