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Blaydes explains desire to fight Lewis: 'He's very beatable'

Chris Unger / UFC / Getty

Derrick Lewis' win over Aleksei Oleinik must have caught Curtis Blaydes' attention.

Blaydes, a top contender in the UFC heavyweight division, took to Twitter as soon as Lewis finished Oleinik in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Aug. 8.

Less than two weeks later, a pivotal bout between Blaydes and Lewis was set for the headliner of the promotion's Nov. 28 event at a to-be-determined location.

So, why did Blaydes want to fight "The Black Beast" in the first place?

"He's a great matchup, he's ranked right below me, and he's very beatable," Blaydes told theScore.

Blaydes, who's ranked No. 3 at heavyweight, is arguably the best wrestler in the weight class, and No. 5 Lewis' biggest weakness comes on the ground. Blaydes set the record for most takedowns in a UFC heavyweight bout (14) in his last contest against Alexander Volkov, which he won via unanimous decision in June.

"And pretty much he's the only guy available," Blaydes added. "There isn't anyone else worth a fight. I'm not gonna take on a guy ranked eighth or 10th or whatever."

Blaydes has won four straight bouts, including a knockout of former champion Junior dos Santos earlier this year. A winning streak like that in the heavyweight division would often earn a fighter a title shot. But, with Francis Ngannou expected to face champion Stipe Miocic next, and having lost twice to Ngannou, "Razor" didn't see the point in waiting around.

"I like to fight and stay active," Blaydes said. "Every fight is an opportunity for me to gain experience. The more experience I gain, the better of a fighter I become."

Lewis also expressed interest in the fight after beating Oleinik. Blaydes isn't surprised the 35-year-old agreed to it.

"He has to fight me," Blaydes said. "Who else would it be? There's no one else for him to fight. ... Unless (Lewis) wants to take on a guy ranked eighth, ninth, or 10th, I'm the only guy worth it."

This is a fight Blaydes has wanted for a while, he said.

"I've been calling him out for almost two years now, so eventually I knew it was going to happen," Blaydes said. "He can only hide for so long."

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