Curtis Blaydes won the biggest fight of his life at UFC 221 last month when he stepped on to enemy territory and soundly defeated the veteran Mark Huny.
Now, Blaydes will be pitted against another heavyweight legend in that of Alistair Overeem at UFC 225 in Chicago on June 9. When speaking to Fightful.com's James Lynch ahead of the announced bout, Blaydes said he was expecting a big name, but wasn't sure when the fight would go down.
"I knew it was going to be someone tough, so I'm not like 'holy crap.' I knew it'd be Alistair or Werdum. I am happy it's going to be in Chicago. I wasn't 100 percent sure I would get it. I know I'm going to be on the main card because I'm going against Alistair. I think it was offered (around February 20), but I didn't get the contract to sign and send in until (February 28)," Blaydes said.
According to Blaydes, the matchup with the former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion made all the sense in the world to him because there simply weren't many more options for Overeem to face at this point of his career.
"They weren't going to give him Werdum again. They weren't going to give him Hunt again. They weren't going to give him Ngannou again. They weren't going to give him the belt. The only option he had were me and Cain, and I don't know if they offered it to Cain," said Blaydes.
Blaydes confirmed that he signed a new contract with the UFC, and told Lynch that Overeem's fight with UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic is a bit of a template on how to beat Overeem.
"I do have a new 8-fight contract. I hate having to talk about financials or contractual or anything like that, I just want to focus on getting better and breaking down opponents' film and things like that," Blaydes said. "I feel like it's the same matchup as the Mark Hunt fight. Box my way inside into an exchange and attack his legs, maybe take his back and ground and pound. If I have to get multiple takedowns, I have the cardio to do that. He's dangerous from every angle and I know that, but I believe in my movement and improved striking. Even if it doesn't always get shown, it is improving."
The surging heavyweight Blaydes says that he'll remain in Colorado to train for the fight and they'll likely bring in additional names to help him prepare for the fight. Blaydes singled out UFC's Dom Reyes as a name he'd like to have help him prepare for the fight, one that he thinks could earn him a date with the winner of Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier.
"I think a win in Chicago is a precursor to me getting a title shot," Blaydes said.
In the full interview, Curtis Blaydes (9-1 NC) discusses his upcoming fight against Alistair Overeem (43-16, NC) at UFC 225 on June 9. Curtis also talks about how this matchup came together, his training camp for this fight and earning a potential title shot with a victory.