Aspinall Accepts Blaydes’ Challenge: ‘I’m In!’

Curtis Blaydes pulled off the upset on Saturday night at UFC 299, snapping Jailton Almeida’s six-fight winning streak by knocking the Brazilian out with hammerfists in the second round (watch the highlights here). If Almeida had gotten past Blaydes, there was no question he’d be next in line to face interim champion Tom Aspinall. Now Curtis is looking to step into that position.

“I believe me and Aspinall have some unfinished business,” Blaydes declared in the cage following his win. “I’d like to get that one next. That’s my next fight: Aspinall.”

Blaydes and Aspinall fought back in July 2022, but the bout lasted just 15 seconds before Aspinall blew out his knee. Now that Aspinall is the UFC interim champ, “Razor” Blaydes wants to give him a chance to avenge that loss.

“Don’t gotta ask me twice. I’m in,” Aspinall wrote on Twitter in response to a fan calling for a summer fight.

Heavyweight is in a bit of an odd spot right now with undisputed champion Jon Jones recovering from a pectoral injury. When he does return, it will be against Stipe Miocic in a match that was originally scheduled for UFC 295. That leaves Aspinall in a lurch until late 2024 at the earliest … so why not have him fight Curtis Blaydes in the interim?

While nothing is confirmed, it’s expected that the UFC will return to the U.K. this summer for an event. If that happens, Curtis is ready and willing to travel.

“London was dope,” he said at the UFC 299 post-fight press conference. “I’m down to go back.”

What he’s not interested in is a title eliminator match with the only other potential opponent for Aspinall, Ciryl Gane.

“I feel like you guys are all trying to edge me towards Gane, that’s not happening,” Blaydes said. “I asked for him already in the past, he missed that bus. If it’s not Aspinall, we’ll figure it out. I’m not going to make no concrete decisions right now because I don’t know what’s going on – I haven’t even looked at my phone all day.”

Aspinall hasn’t fought since a first round KO win over Sergei Pavlovich to win the title in November 2023. He’s repeatedly said a fight with Blaydes interested him, considering it’s his sole loss in the UFC. If the promotion wants to keep their burgeoning British star active, the choice seems obvious — unless they decide to go with Ciryl Gane, who could get the nod due to his popularity in France.

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