Undefeated in his past five fights, Curtis Blaydes hopes a win at UFC 225 can propel him into title contention.
The former junior college national champion wrestler has proven himself to be one of the toughest outs in the entire heavyweight division including back-to-back wins over Mark Hunt and Alexey Oleinik.
This weekend, Blaydes will face one of his toughest tests to date when he takes on former title contender Alistair Overeem in the UFC 225 featured prelim from Chicago.
Overeem is a legend of combat sports with a championship pedigree built in both mixed martial arts and kickboxing with titles held in almost every major organization around the globe.
That's why Blaydes was more than happy with the matchup when the UFC came calling with his next fight offer.
"It's one that made the most sense based off his ranking and my ranking," Blaydes told MMAWeekly. "He's the highest ranked guy I could have been matched up with seeing as how [Francis] Ngannou's already matched up with Derrick Lewis. So I'm happy with the matchup."
While his focus remains on Overeem this Saturday night, the other name that Blaydes mentioned was fearsome knockout artist Francis Ngnanou, who will make his return to action at UFC 226 in July.
That name hold significance for Blaydes because the only blemish on his record came from Ngannou in his UFC debut back in 2016.
On that night, Blaydes suffered a TKO loss after his right eye was shut following the second round and the ringside physician wouldn't allow him to continue.
With hopes of earning a title shot with a win against Overeem, Blaydes knows that Ngannou probably won't be his next opponent and they may not clash again for the next year, but he promises that the rematch will happen sooner or later.
"It's inevitable," Blaydes said about facing Ngannou a second time. "I think we're both going to be around for the foreseeable future. I almost guarantee we'll have the rematch. When, I don't know? But it's inevitable."