Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir doesn’t see Stipe Miocic bringing much of a challenge to reigning titleholder Jon Jones.
After capturing the heavyweight crown in emphatic fashion at UFC 285 earlier this year, Jon Jones will return in November for a clash with the general consensus heavyweight GOAT, Stipe Miocic. The two men are expected to headline UFC 295 when the promotion returns to the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.
Knowing a thing or two about rising to the top of the heavyweight division, Frank Mir is willing to give credit where credit is due when it comes to Miocic’s historic run in the division. However, Mir believes that Miocic won’t be able to offer much offense when he’s inside the Octagon with perhaps the greatest fighter in the history of the sport.
“Stipe is a great wrestler. A well-rounded mixed martial artist which is probably why he has the record for most title defenses,” Mir told James Lynch in a MiddleEasy exclusive interview. He’s one of the best, most well-rounded heavyweights we’ve ever had. Great boxing, great wrestling. The submission are a little bit lacking, but that’s a typical heavyweight.
“Against Jon, it’s going to be hard for me. He obviously doesn’t have crazy one-punch knockout power so if he catches him… As far as striking ability, you would think Gane would have been a much more difficult fight [for Jon Jones]. You saw how Jon once again uses his long kicks to keep you at bay and the minute you make a mistake, boom. He grabs you.”
"Y'all want to see me beat up Stipe?"
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 5, 2023
Training alongside Jon Jones, Mir knows all too well the danger that ‘Bones’ brings to the Octagon. Offering his prediction for the highly anticipated heavyweight showdown, Mir suggested that Jones will likely put Miocic on his back and either finish him from the top or keep him there for 25 minutes.
“I’ve trained with Jon,” Mir continued. “I’ve trained with people who are world-class wrestlers that have trained with Jon. If Jon had gone a different route in his life… Like if he had gone to a Division I college, he would have been an NCAA double champ at heavyweight and he would be an Olympic gold medalist, no doubt in my mind. That’s how good of a wrestler he is.
“With that being said, he grabs and snatches Miocic and has Miocic fighting off his back the whole time. I’ve never seen Miocic there and I don’t think he’s used to being there. If I had to take a glimpse, [Miocic] doesn’t like submission grappling. He doesn’t train that because every time he had Francis [Ngannou] out of position when Francis was gassed, he never once even tried to initiate a choke. Never once looked for any kind of way to damage a joint. It was just ground and pound.
“So that thought was, if you don’t do it from the top, you probably don’t do it from the bottom. You’re probably going to be a fish out of water when Jon puts you on your back.”
Frank Mir is Putting His Money on Tyson Fury to Take Out Francis Ngannou
Speaking of Francis Ngannou, Mir’s fellow former heavyweight champion will hang up his four-ounce gloves for a temporary move to the boxing ring. ‘The Predator’ is scheduled for a scrap with reigning WBC heavyweight world champion, Tyson Fury. Asked for his thoughts on the bout, Mir believes Ngannou has little more than a puncher’s chance against one of the greatest ring tacticians of all time.
“Francis does hit hard. There’s always a chance he could catch Tyson,” Mir said. “If you ask right now who I’m betting on… Well, Fury. I think he’s one of the best heavyweight boxers that’s ever existed. He’s elusive. He’s hard to hit. He’s got great strategy. And he’s got fortitude. We saw him get knocked down by Wilder and he got back up.
“For it to be the debut boxing match for Francis and you’re facing probably the best boxer ever, that’s an uphill battle. But Francis’ power is ungodly. I mean, he’s the hardest-hitting human being in the world. If he touches you. It could be the end of the night.”
This angle of Tyson Fury’s stunning 11th round knockout of Deontay Wilder is a thing of beauty.
— Chisanga Malata (@Chisanga_Malata) October 10, 2021
Frank Mir expects Fury to employ a similar gameplan to the one he used against Deontay Wilder, wearing on his opponent in the early going before unleashing a flurry of strikes to ultimately take over and take out Ngannou.
“He has the power to land a shot, but I’ve already seen Tyson nullify Wilder who’s also an extremely hard puncher who is 6’7″ and has already had 40 boxing matches by the time that they fought. He knew how to nullify power. He knew how to sit there in the first round and go, ‘Hey, I’m not gonna box with you. I’m gonna keep jumping on you and hugging you, clinching with you. I’m gonna wear your shoulders out. I’m gonna nullify that power.'”
He continued, “I don’t think Tyson’s going to go box him for the first three rounds. He doesn’t even care if he loses on the scorecards in the first three rounds. He’s just going to hug the hell out of Francis and then after that, Francis is going to be tired and I think it’s going to be a disaster for him.”
Fury vs. Ngannou goes down on October 28 and will emanate from Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.