The UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, arguably the greatest MMA heavyweight of all time, is set to face off against Francis Ngannou at UFC 260.
Miocic and Ngannou have clashed before, with the champ weathering the early storm to pick up a unanimous decision victory. However that was several years ago, and both men have significantly changed since then.
Ngannou Will Face The Strongest Stipe Yet
Speaking with ESPN MMA’s Ariel Helwani, Stipe sat down to discuss the upcoming rematch, and how he has only improved since their first fight.
The heavyweight champ had the following to say about how he has changed since their first fight:
“I’m more efficient. Just overall. I’ve learnt more about my body. I’m stronger. I’m lighter, but I’m stronger, I’m faster. You know they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but I feel like I’ve learned a lot. I’m getting better each day.”
“He’s getting better too. He’s still young and he’s hungry, and he wants something that I have. Unfortunately, I’m the champion and I’m not giving it up. He won’t be champ until I’m done.”
Miocic Talks Jon Jones
Helwani also quizzed Ngannou on his thoughts of a super fight against Jon Jones, and whether he would have considered pushing for that fight before Ngannou. Stipe had the following to say:
“I don’t know. I don’t do contract negotiations. I’m not an agent, I’m a fighter. I’ve got goals and aspirations but I’m not gonna choose who I fight. I’m gonna fight who the UFC wants me to fight. And they want me to fight Ngannou. I think Francis deserves it.”
Whilst he may be fighting Ngannou next, it appears near confirmed that the winner will face Jones later this year.
The subject of eye pokes has plagued Miocic’s recent career, having been both on the giving and receiving side of the illegal action. Helwani discussed whether the UFC should implement new rules or a change in glove style to decrease the regularity of eye pokes. Stipe stated the following:
“It is what it is. It’s part of the game. I mean if someones doing it on purpose that’s a different story. You know, a lot of times I think they’re on purpose.”
“Listen, I’m a fighter. Like I said if it’s an accident, I mean I did it in my last fight, I didn’t even realise I poked him. It was an accident.
Could Miocic Box Fury or Joshua?
The title of baddest man on the planet is now often regarded by many to be held by the UFC heavyweight champion. However, traditionally it was granted to boxing’s heavyweight titleholder. Miocic spoke about why he wishes to one day transition over to boxing and face their p4p heavyweight number 1.
“It’s different. It’s a different fight, a different combat. Boxing’s all about technique but I’ll make it into a fight.”
“Their both great fighters. It’s gonna be a hell of a fight either way to watch.”