Curtis Blaydes Feels Disrespected by ‘Juice Head’ Brock Lesnar Getting UFC Title Shot

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Curtis Blaydes and Brock Lesnar
Curtis Blaydes and Brock Lesnar

UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes feels disrespected by the fact that former WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar is returning to the Octagon from a more-than-two-year absence and a UFC Anti-Doping Policy suspension into an immediate title shot.

Blaydes has a fight lined up. The No. 3 ranked heavyweight fighter in the UFC is set to face No. 4 ranked Francis Ngannou in the UFC Fight Night 141 headliner on Nov. 25 in Beijing

Lesnar has a fight lined up, too. He is expected to return to the Octagon in early 2019 to challenge current dual-division champion Daniel Cormier for the UFC heavyweight belt. Right now, however, he's finished out his WWE contract and will be training and being drug tested as he tries to stay clean while serving out the remainder of an anti-doping suspension related to his last trip to the UFC. 

Lesnar initially defeated Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in July of 2016, but was later notified that he had tested positive for clomiphene in samples collected both pre-fight and on fight night. The victory was changed to a no contest result and Lesnar was suspended. 

Instead of serving his suspension, Lesnar retired and returned to the WWE. Retiring, however, effectively froze his suspension, so he has to finish the remainder of the sanction, which means he isn't eligible to return until January of 2019, but he has still been promised the first crack at Cormier's recently won heavyweight title.

That doesn't sit all that well with Blaydes.

“I still feel disrespected that Brock Lesnar gets to jump in out of the blue. He’s not even ranked. He’s not even officially on the roster, and he gets to have a title fight scheduled and he hasn’t proven himself,” Blaydes said during a recent interview with Submission Radio, although he understands why the UFC would make such a move.

“They want money. I get it. They want money. I’m not money yet, so it is what it is.”

Curtis Blaydes and Brock Lesnar
Curtis Blaydes and Brock Lesnar

With moves like Lesnar being granted an immediate title shot upon his return to the UFC, former WWE champion CM Punk being granted a shot in the Octagon with zero fight experience, and the like, Blaydes characterized mixed martial arts – at least the UFC's brand of it – as unlike most other professional sports leagues in the world.

“This isn’t a sport. It’s not a sport like the NFL or the NBA or MLB or NHL or any other major sports leagues in the world, because in any of those leagues you can’t just be a guy off the street and just take a guy’s spot on the roster cause you’re famous,” he stated.

“That would be like if Will Smith was like, ‘yo, I really like the Lakers, I want to play for the Lakers.’ You can’t do that. This isn’t a sport, but it does require athleticism to get the most out of it. So, like you said, I’m in the middle. It’s probably leaning more towards the entertainment. I don’t think skill matters quite as much as marketability.”

That may be a bit of a stretch of a comparison since Lesnar has competed before and was, in fact, the UFC heavyweight champion at one time, but Blaydes doesn't think so. He doesn't even consider Lesnar a legitimate fighter. He gives Lesnar no chance at defeating Cormier, who has only ever lost a fight, whether it be at heavyweight or light heavyweight, to Jon Jones, who is currently on the sidelines dealing with his own anti-doping violation.

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“No. None whatsoever,” Blaydes said of Lesnar's chance of defeating Cormier. “I don’t even view Brock as a legitimate MMA fighter.

“He was juiced to the gills when he fought in the early to mid-2000’s. So I don’t respect juice heads.”

Blaydes has been relatively soft spoken during the majority of his career, but now, seven fights into his UFC tenure, he realizes that in today's UFC he needs to speak up if he's going to become "the money guy."

“I’m gonna voice my opinions. Like, if I feel disrespected or I feel like I deserve something, anything, I’m gonna speak out,” he said. “Everyone else is doing it and there’s no punishment, so why not?”