Curtis Blaydes Says Jon Jones Isn’t Scared of Tom Aspinall, Calls Stipe Miocic Fight the Century’s Biggest Heavyweight Bout

Curtis Blaydes, a top-five contender in the UFC heavyweight division, has commented on the complex situation surrounding the title, stating that he understands the business decisions behind Jon Jones‘ planned fight with Stipe Miocic, and expressing his interest in a rematch with interim champion Tom Aspinall.

Curtis Blaydes’ journey in the UFC has been a rocky one. The heavyweight title’s been under constant pressure since day one.

The belt’s been tangled in the Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier trilogy. Francis Ngannou‘s contract disputes with the UFC added to the chaos. The road to a shot at heavyweight gold? Always full of hurdles.

The latest twist? Jon Jones’ injury. It stopped him from fighting Miocic last November. In his absence, Tom Aspinall was crowned interim champion.

Since then, Aspinall’s been pushing for a title unification. But the UFC’s clear. Jones is set for a showdown with Miocic in 2024. This complicates the heavyweight situation, but Blaydes gets it.

“That’s just the nature of the beast,” Blaydes said to MMA Fighting. “It’s a business. We get it.” He believes a Jones vs. Stipe fight, without another potential loss, could be the heavyweight fight of the century. “The UFC’s going to do everything to preserve that. I get it. That’s how the business grows. It’s good for the UFC overall. The more money they make, the more money everybody makes.”

Aspinall gets it too, according to Blaydes. He stopped asking for a fight. It’s not about being a good matchup for Jon. It’s about pay-per-view buys. Stipe brings in more. “That’s just what it is. I get it. I feel for him.”

Miocic is nearing 42 and hasn’t fought since his knockout loss to Ngannou in 2021. Some argue Aspinall could be a tougher fight for Jones now. But Blaydes dismisses the idea that Jones is avoiding Aspinall by choosing Miocic.

“Jon’s not scared of nobody,” Blaydes said. “He’s not scared of Aspinall. He’s going after Stipe. Stipe is the scariest heavyweight of the past 15 odd years. He’s going after him. I don’t think he’s scared or nothing.

“It’s about money. I can’t blame him, especially if this is going to be his last one. Get the bag and then bounce.”

Blaydes has his own history with Aspinall. They met in a main event fight in London in July 2022. Blaydes won after Aspinall suffered a knee injury 15 seconds into the opening round.

Despite his win, Blaydes doesn’t brag about that fight. He sees his history with Aspinall as unfinished business. He’d like a rematch.

“I don’t even brag about that win,” Blaydes said. “I don’t tell people, ‘Oh, I beat Aspinall!’ I don’t really. That’s not how I feel about it. It’s not one of those I can brag about. I’d like to get a braggable win though. I would like that.

“Had it gone the other way, I wouldn’t respect him if he was bragging that he beat me. I’m like, ‘You didn’t beat me, I got injured,’ and that’s how I view it. I know it’s a win for me and a loss for him, but it can be beneath the numbers, I view it as an incomplete.”

Blaydes is set to face Jailton Almeida at UFC 299 on Saturday. He knows the heavyweight division’s unpredictability might favor him this time. He has a past history with Aspinall. A win over Almeida could put him at the front of the line for Aspinall’s interim heavyweight title.

But nothing’s certain. “I win, it’s not in stone,” Blaydes said. “Brock Lesnar could pop out of the blue. This is the UFC. I know who I am. I know how the UFC views me. I know how they view other guys. Other guys with accents. I know how it is. There’s no guarantee for anything beyond this fight. Hell, I could win and get released. I’ve seen crazier things happen, so I don’t look beyond Almeida at all.”

Blaydes understands his place in the UFC hierarchy. He’s not complaining, but he doesn’t like how the loudest guys get the most attention. But he can’t change it.

“[UFC views me] as not a star,” Blaydes said. “I don’t have that personality like the [Israel Adesanyas] and the Paddy [Pimbletts]. I don’t talk smack. I don’t do a lot of self-promotion. I don’t do that stuff. I understand the opportunities I pass on by not being like those guys. That’s just not who I am and I’m not going to force it. I get it. It’s OK. The money’s good. I’m happy with just the money. I don’t need the prestige and all that stuff.

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game. I hate the game. I hate that’s how you have to get rewarded, but I don’t have to play that. I don’t hate [Conor] McGregor. It worked out for him. It usually works out for the loudmouths, the big mouths. As long as you’re winning and you’ve got a loud mouth, it usually works out.”


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