Blaydes was once a possibility for Jones and got the former UFC light heavyweight champ’s attention by picking Stipe Miocic over “Bones” in a potential matchup. Now, he estimates he’s on a different path, and it’s not one based on his resume.
“Obviously I’ve seen the news, Gane is getting another title shot vs. Jones,” Blaydes wrote on Instagram. “Most likely I’ll be getting the [Pavlovich], who just beat Tuivasa. That’s cool with me, I get why Gane got the shot and it wasn’t based off meritocracy and that’s not a news flash, the UFC is always gonna … match make based off who puts the most asses in the stands and eyes on the fight.
“I hope I’ll only need one more win to prove I can put asses in the stands and get a title shot.”
Blaydes, 31, has won three straight since a knockout loss to Derrick Lewis and presents a promotional upside due to his age. The Illinois native has also worked to be known as a more well-rounded threat after leaning on his wrestling to stifle opponents in previous bouts, stopping ex-champ Junior Dos Santos among several more recent TKO wins.
Blaydes made the adjustment after being criticized by UFC President Dana White for not backing his out-of-cage talk about fighter pay and the UFC’s business practices with aggressive performances that might put him over with audiences. White praised the heavyweight’s skills but said he was fighting with the wrong attitude and needed to stay busy.
A win over Pavolvich would put another up-and-coming heavyweight on Blaydes’ list of victims. The Russian heavyweight has steamrolled the opposition to far with five straight first-round wins, all by knockout.