Curtis Blaydes launched himself of the title picture at UFC 225 by viciously knocking out Alistair Overeem.
After a couple of rounds of exceptional wrestling, Blaydes applied his elbows to the forehead of his opponent, leaving the cage with a grisly portrait. Leading up to the finish, Blaydes wasn't sure he'd actually get it.
"I knew I'd be able to win, but I'd worried I'd not get the finish. I hadn't had a real finish since East, and that was two years ago. I thought he would attack my legs a lot more. We actually drilled takedowns off of leg kicks a lot more. That kind of caught me off guard," said Blaydes to Fightful.com's James Lynch.
Earlier in the week, rumors swirled that Blaydes would immediately be added to a Moscow card later this year, but as he mentioned to us, an Overeem heel hook may have put him on the shelf a little longer than many expected.
"At the end of the first round, Overeem had that heel hook. He kind of torqued my knee a little bit and it popped. I've always had issues with my knee, so I was able to push through it. As the night went on, it started to swell up a little bit. It's my meniscus. I'm getting back to Denver Monday. I think I'll give it two or three weeks to rest up and heal up. I don't think I should be back in the Octagon until after Halloween," Blaydes said. "I won't be back at full power until probably the end of July."
As far as feedback from the UFC, he didn't get nearly as much of that as he did from fans.
"I haven't heard anything directly from the UFC besides 'congratulations,' pretty standard. (On social media) my phone was blowing up. It was like a bomb," Blaydes told us.
Blaydes will be in attendance at UFC 226 to take in the UFC Heavyweight Championship superfight between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier. He mentioned that while he's open to a top contender fight with Alexander Volkov as rumored, he'd prefer a title shot.
In the full interview, Curtis Blaydes (10-1, NC) recaps his third-round TKO victory over Alistair Overeem at UFC 225 on June 9