Erin Blanchfield: ‘I’m definitely a lock’ for title shot with UFC on ESPN 54 main event win

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Erin Blanchfield thinks she’ll have an ironclad case for a women’s flyweight title shot with a win over Manon Fiorot in Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 54 headliner.

Blanchfield (12-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) has put together a solid undefeated streak to begin her octagon tenure, which has led her to a main event for the first time against Fiorot (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC), who brings a perfect promotional record of her own into the fight at Boardwalk Hall (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+).

In many circumstances, both women likely would’ve received title opportunities already with their respective resumes. Alexa Grasso’s shocking upset of longtime champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 285 in March 2023, followed by their controversial draw in the rematch at Noche UFC in September, has caused a logjam at the top of the division.

With Grasso and Shevchenko currently filming as coaches on Season 32 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show and unlikely to have their trilogy bout until September, the respective contenders came to a decision. A desire to keep active from both Blanchfield and Fiorot to further solidify their argument for a title shot led them together this weekend.

“I feel like it definitely should be (a title eliminator),” Blanchfield told MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s media day. “I’m No. 2, she’s No. 3. The only two girls ahead of us are the girls that have been fighting for the title. So when I win Saturday, I feel like I’m definitely a lock for the title.

“I think you could definitely argue this is like my third No. 1 contender fight. I’m just gaining experience every time. I’m 24 years old fighting super tough girls. I feel like I’m getting so much better from it, and when I do get that title shot, and win that championship, I’ll definitely be a champ.”

Fiorot, who is coming off consecutive wins over former champ Rose Namajunas and former title challengers Katlyn Cerminara, Jennifer Maia and Mayra Bueno Silva, made some noise at UFC on ESPN 54 media day when she stated that Blanchfield was not the toughest opponent of her career thus far.

Blanchfield isn’t overly concerned about comparing what’s happened in the past, though. She’s already collected some notable scalps in former champ Jessica Andrade, former title challenger Taila Santos and fan-favorite Molly McCann. Now, she’s keen to find out if she can add Fiorot to that list.

“I don’t know (if she’s my toughest test),” Blanchfield said. Every fight is obviously super tough. Everyone in the top five is super tough. We’ve both beat former champions. My last fight was with Taila Santos who some people thought beat Valentina (Shevchenko). We’ve both had tough fights. I think my road’s been a little bit tougher.

“Our records are very similar. She’s long and rangy. I’ve had months to strategize for that and I feel super prepared for this fight and I’m excited to show it off on Saturday.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 54.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie