Curtis Blaydes will be rooting for UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in an impeding trilogy bout against Daniel Cormier.
The No. 3-ranked heavyweight, who will meet Junior dos Santos in the UFC Raleigh main event on Saturday, said he thinks a Cormier win would hold up the division. Cormier has said he plans to retire after the fight - win or lose.
"If DC wins it again, he's gonna milk it," Blaydes told MMA Junkie's Matt Erickson on Wednesday. "He might still retire, but he’s not going to do it immediately. He don't want to immediately leave the spotlight. You don’t just drop it and drift off in the sunset."
Miocic and Cormier are expected to square off for the third time at some point this year, but the bout is not a done deal because Miocic is recovering from an eye injury.
Miocic recaptured the title with a fourth-round TKO of Cormier at UFC 241 last August. Cormier took the belt away from Miocic in their first meeting by finishing him at UFC 226 in July 2018.
"DC's got the greatest chance to beat him. He’s done it once before, and he can do it again," Blaydes said. "But if you’re asking me would I prefer to keep the division moving more fluid? I think that Stipe is a lot more open to just being active."
Blaydes added that he thinks there's a good chance Cormier will stick around a while longer if he beats Miocic. "DC" initially planned to retire last March before an injury kept him sidelined longer than expected.
For Blaydes, it would be fine if Cormier chooses to defend the belt against one of the top heavyweight contenders. But "Razor" thinks he'd aim for a trilogy fight against UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
"I don’t want to be sitting just waiting for those, because that's what I'll do," Blaydes said.
"And I get it - it's (Cormier's) belt. If he gets it, he can do what he wants with it, but it doesn’t help me. ... I'm in the prime of my career. I need to keep stuff moving.”