The Heavyweight division is in a state of limbo right now, with two undeniable contenders for the crown not in the title picture right now.
Curtis Blaydes picked up a dominant win over Alexander Volkov at UFC Fight Night Vegas 3 on Saturday night, setting the record for most takedowns in a heavyweight fight in the process. It means he’ll likely stay ranked at #3, behind Francis Ngannou, Daniel Cormier and champion Stipe Miocic.
With ‘DC’ and Stipe scheduled for their trilogy World Heavyweight Championship fight in August and Ngannou undoubtedly next in line, Blaydes is left without any real opponents.
‘Razor’ has already fought Ngannou twice, and lost both times via knockout, which rules out them fighting again to determine a guaranteed No.1 contender. With Cormier already stating publicly that he will retire after the fight with Miocic, whether he wins or loses, the title picture for the big men looks unsteady.
If Stipe wins, it would likely set up a rematch between himself and Ngannou a few months down the line but where would that leave Curtis? He said following his win over Volkov that he’s 100% waiting for the title fight to be done before he decides on his next move.
The only way I can see Blaydes jumping ahead of Ngannou in the hunt for a title shot is if the rumoured Jon Jones move happens. With ‘Bones’ reportedly eyeing up a move to heavyweight, he has tangled with Ngannou online about a potential fight to welcome him to the division. If Ngannou is interested in taking that fight, the timeline could potentially open up the chance for ‘Razor’ to move into the contender spot for the winner of Stipe vs DC 3.
If not, he may be forced to take another fight prior to a potential title fight. With Derrick Lewis ranked below him currently in No.4, thats a fight that hasn’t happened before. While Lewis is currently matched up with Alexei Oleinik in August, Blaydes’ statement that he’ll be waiting will help anyway.
In an ideal world for the UFC, Miocic will defeat Cormier so the title doesn’t get vacated. He’d then defend against Ngannou, while Blaydes fights Lewis in a number one contender fight. Jon Jones’ inclusion into the equation could make things more difficult and a Cormier win shakes things up even more.
Right now though, the heavyweight division is on pause until Stipe vs DC 3 takes place at the UFC Apex on August 15th and Curtis ‘Razor’ Blaydes is waiting patiently in line – for now.