Erin Blanchfield is quickly being recognized as one of the hottest prospects in the sport. With recognition come fans and skeptics – and legends.
At UFC Fight Night 207, Blanchfield (8-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) forces the first woman to call him during his promotional tenure, JJ Aldrich (11-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) in a heavyweight bout fly. The two fighters square off in the card’s opener on Saturday at the UFC Apex. While legends get under some athletes’ skin, Blanchfield embraces names.
“I’ve only had two fights in the UFC, so that’s pretty quick for a legend,” Blanchfield recently told MMA Junkie. “It’s good, though. It means people pay attention and people want to fight me and they want to see me fight. I’m excited about this. I like to be called. It kind of keeps your name there. … I think it’s funny because they think they’re going to beat me. It never really works for them.
Aldrich, 29, is currently on one of the most successful streaks of his professional career. At UFC Fight Night 203 in March, Aldrich won his third straight fight and publicly called a match against Blanchfield afterwards. Blanchfield heard the legend and when the UFC matchmakers called, she welcomed the fight with open arms.
“It really interested me,” Blanchfield said. “It’s funny because she’s like my fourth left-hander in a row. I fought a group of southpaws, so it’s good to keep it that way. It will be good to gain experience. JJ has been in the UFC for a long time, so he’s definitely the most experienced person I’ve ever fought. I’m excited to get in there with someone who’s more of a vet and get that win over her.
Blanchfield, 23, has turned heads for his two dominant UFC outings to date. First, she dominated former LFA champion Sarah Alpar. Next, she put on a similar one-sided performance against Miranda Maverick.
The wins generated buzz and Blanchfield noticed an increase in his popularity among fans. The praise is in line with her confidence, but that doesn’t mean she wants to rush anything. It’s one step at a time.
“I kind of always liked (the praise),” Blachfield said. “I expect that from myself. People think the same things. I just want to prove them right and prove to myself that I’m right. I kinda like that everyone is kind of behind me in that sense. I’m just gonna go out there and show that I’m that person.
The next step in his career is Aldrich. If all goes according to Blanchfield’s plan, a ranked opponent will be next. After that? It’s hard to say, but Blanchfield doesn’t think it’s unreasonable that she’ll fight her way to a title in the next few years, one way or another.
“As long as I go out there and get those wins, I know what’s going to happen,” Blanchfield said. “You can’t really plan everything in life. I understand Maycee wanted to be the youngest champion, but that’s a lofty goal. Putting those deadlines (on things) might be unrealistic or just plain stressful. So I try not to set myself deadlines. I just want to get in there, as long as I’m healthy and can fight, and get those wins. I know I will get there. »
Check out MMA Jukie’s full interview with Blanchfield below: