Curtis Lionell Blaydes (born February 18, 1991) is an American professional mixed martial artist, currently competing in the Heavyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. A professional since 2014, he formerly competed for the RFA. As of July 26, 2018, he is #3 in the official UFC heavyweight rankings.
Blaydes was born in Naperville, Illinois and raised in nearby Chicago along with his four other siblings. He began wrestling for the De La Salle Institute, winning a state title his senior year while also compiling an undefeated 44-0 record. During his four years, Blaydes compiled an overall record of 95-18 with 121 takedowns. Blaydes also played football for De La Salle as a defensive end. He later earned a full wrestling scholarship to Northern Illinois University, where, despite going 19-2 as a redshirt freshman, later transferred to Harper College. At Harper, Blaydes won the NJCAA National Championship as a redshirt sophomore. After he began fighting in amateur mixed martial arts, Blaydes left school to focus on a career in MMA.