For the time being, all of Stipe Miocic’s focus is on defending his title at UFC 226 vs. Daniel Cormier.
But Saturday night at UFC 225, Miocic – or Cormier, for that matter – might have watched the next contender rise to the top.
Curtis Blaydes shined in his hometown of Chicago, finishing former challenger and ex-Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. The 27-year-old added Overeem’s name to a list that also includes Mark Hunt and Oleksiy Oliynyk.
“I knew this fight was a big one and I wanted to make sure I stepped up in my moment,” Blaydes said. “Overeem is a legend and a world champion. There’s no doubt that I am the next one in line for the title.
“Give me Stipe, give me DC; all that matters is that I’m the next one in line.”
Blaydes is 10-1 with a no-contest in his career, including a 5-1 mark inside the Octagon. His lone career loss came to recent No. 1 contender Francis Ngannou.