Curtis Blaydes shuts down Tom Aspinall rematch

LONDON – Curtis Blaydes is understandably disappointed with how the UFC Fight Night 208 main event unfolded, but has no choice but to move forward.

Blaydes (17-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) was awarded the TKO victory just 15 seconds into Saturday’s heavyweight headliner when Tom Aspinall (12-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) appeared to blow out his knee in the opening exchange, causing the fight to be waved off.

“I have no idea what happened,” Blaydes told MMA Junkie and other reporters post-fight at UFC Fight Night 208. “He landed the kick, I went to counter, he dropped. That’s all I know.

“I’m frustrated. No one wants to win like that. I get the win, I hold my ranking. I get the money, but without a highlight, did it even happen? Did the fight even happen?”

Blaydes vs. Aspinall was a marquee matchup for the upper tier of the division. Both men are trending toward their first UFC title shot, and this result had big implications on how that would shake out.

Despite the unfortunate result, Blaydes doesn’t think his trajectory massively changes. He said pre-fight that he wants the winner of the UFC Paris main event between Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa on Sept. 3, and he still think that should be how the matchmaking unfolds.

One thing Blaydes won’t do, however, is wait for a rematch with Aspinall, who has an unknown timeline to return depending on the severity of his injury.

“I’m not risking my ranking (with a rematch),” Blaydes said. “I won the fight. Heading into this fight I envisioned the winner, which is me, would be fighting the winner of Tuivasa and Gane. So I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to fight those guys when it’s right there to wait for Tom Aspinall to heal and run it back.”


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