Curtis Blaydes says he’s Jon Jones’ toughest match-up

UFC Vegas 71's Curtis Blaydes is talking up his chances against UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

By: Tim Bissell | 2 months ago
Curtis Blaydes says he’s Jon Jones’ toughest match-up
Curtis Blaydes at a UFC pre-fight scrum. IMAGO / Pixsell

Curtis Blaydes is set to face Sergei Pavlovich in the main event of this Saturday’s UFC Vegas 71. But despite that, Blaydes committed a cardinal sin of fighting, talking about someone other than his opponent (who is on a five fight T/KO streak, by the way). In a recent interview with MMA Fighting Blaydes invoked the name of recently crowned UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

Curtis Blaydes scouted Jon Jones’ heavyweight debut

Blaydes said he didn’t learn much about Jones from his heavyweight debut earlier this year (a quick submission win over Ciryl Gane). However, that hasn’t dulled Blaydes’ confidence.

He told MMA Fighting that he would be Jones’ toughest match-up in the heavyweight division today.

“I have the size, I have the wrestling, I have the athleticism, I have the speed, I have the agility,” he said. “I have all the things you need to match up with a talent like Jon Jones.”

“I know he has the reach, his arms are longer than my reach,” continued Blaydes. “I would have to find a way to get in that zone type of range and I might have to use elbows, I might have to get in the clinch but I believe I could take him down. I believe once I take anyone down, the odds are in my favor.”

Blaydes added that he also wants to fight Jones because he, like many, consider ‘Bones’ an all-time great.

Jon Jones is expected to face Stipe Miocic next

Jones’ first title defence is likely to be against former champion Stipe Miocic in Madison Square Garden. Blaydes said he gives Miocic a ’50/50′ shot at dethroning Jones, due to the grappling abilities Miocic showed in victories over Daniel Cormier.

Blaydes also said Jones will need to worry about Miocic’s power, adding that in the heavyweight division it’s easy to get slept.

“That could happen to Jon,” he said. “It’s one punch. Other weight classes, I watch them all the time. They have multiple exchanges. Even with the heavy hitters in the division like [Justin] Gaethje. He may have two or three or four exchanges where if he were a heavyweight, somebody’s going to sleep in those exchanges. You’re not having four exchanges like that. It’s just the power is so much different at heavyweight.”

UFC Vegas 71 goes like this Saturday night

Pavlovich vs. Blaydes is the headliner for this weekend’s card at the UFC APEX. The co-main event is Brad Tavares vs. Bruno Silva. A bantamweight clash between Song Yadong and Ricky Simon was expected to be the co-main event, but that has been moved back and will now serve as the headliner for UFC Vegas 72.

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Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

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