Erin Blanchfield thinks her strength of schedule makes her the most worthy No. 1 contender.
Blanchfield (12-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) outworked former title challenger Taila Santos (19-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) to earn the unanimous decision win in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 225 main card at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.
Another pivotal flyweight clash between top contender Manon Fiorot and former two-time UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas takes place next Saturday in Paris, but Blanchfield says a win over Santos outweighs the outcome between Fiorot and Namajunas.
“This can definitely make me a No. 1 contender for the title shot next,” Blanchfield said in a post-fight interview with the UFC. “I know Manon and Rose are fighting as well. People arguably thought she won that fight against Valentina, and Rose and Manon, neither one of them have fought Valentina.
“Rose is new to the division, so I feel like this is my sixth win at flyweight, and my last win was against a former champ (Andrade). This was against someone (Santos) who almost beat the champ, so I definitely feel like I’m next in line.”
When asked to give a prediction, Blanchfield picked Fiorot to spoil Namajunas’ flyweight debut.
“I have a feeling Manon is going to win,” Blanchfield said. “I think she’s just a little bit bigger girl. I think Rose is a great fighter, and you never know. Either girl can win, but if I had to pick, I’d pick Manon”
Blanchfield had to work for her win against Santos, who was able to fend off numerous of her takedown attempts. But Blanchfield sees it as a necessary experience at this point in her career.
“I expect these type of fights, I always hope to do them better,” Blanchfield said. “Just get in there, don’t get hurt at all, finish the fight and get out, but tough fights like this are what make you grow. So sometimes you need them.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 225.