Daniel Cormier believes Sergei Pavlovich should be the backup for Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic.
At UFC Vegas 71, Pavlovich made a statement by taking out Curtis Blaydes in the first round. Once the rankings were updated, the Russian emerged as the number two-ranked fighter in the heavyweight division behind only Ciryl Gane, who lost a vacant title fight against Jones in March.
Jones is expected to defend the heavyweight title for the first time against Miocic later this year. During an episode of DC & RC, Cormier expressed his opinion that Pavlovich should try to be the backup fighter for the upcoming championship matchup. He had this to say:
“[If I’m Sergei Pavlovich] I weigh in, and I sit there as an alternate. I don’t know if I fight again because against Ciryl Gane, nobody knew, it but he was the alternate, so he sat there, made the weight, and then when Jon [Jones] and Ciryl fought, he was just out, but he got paid some money. You don’t wanna risk letting your money dry up, but you still get paid along the journey while you still may get an opportunity to fight the champion.”
Daniel Cormier believes Sergei Pavlovich would only have to prepare for a fight against Jon Jones
Being a backup fighter for a title fight has positive and negative aspects. The benefits would be they potentially get an opportunity to compete for a belt and get paid regardless. On the contrary, it can be difficult to prepare for two different styles without knowing who you could be fighting.
During the same podcast episode, Daniel Cormier had this to say about Sergei Pavlovich only having to be worried about preparing for Jon Jones if he was a backup:
“Here’s the thing about those backup fighters. In most cases, especially at heavyweight, if he’s scheduled to fight as a backup and Stipe and Jon are fighting, if Jones falls out, the fight will be off. If Miocic falls out then they will just slide him in, so he’s not gonna fight Stipe for the belt. He would fight Jones for the belt, so he could prepare as if he’s getting ready to fight Jon Jones and have himself ready to fight him in case he gets the call.”
Pavlovich made his UFC debut in November 2018, losing in the first round against Alistair Overeem. Since then, the Russian has become one of the most dangerous fighters in the division, winning six consecutive fights with a first-round KO/TKO. The 30-year-old now finds himself as a top contender after defeating Derrick Lewis, Tai Tuivasa, and Curtis Blaydes.
Watch Sergei Pavlovich take out Curtis Blaydes below:
— Combat Library (@CombatLibrary) April 23, 2023