Stipe Miocic Explains That He Was Ready To Step In Against Jon Jones In March But The UFC Chose Gane

Former UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic says he was willing to step in against Jon Jones in March but the UFC chose Ciryl Gane.

Stipe Miocic
Credit Stipe Miocic on Instagram

Stipe Miocic reacts to Jon Jones’ return and Francis Ngannou’s departure. 

For many years Stipe Miocic was standing alone at the top of the UFC heavyweight rankings. He became champion in 2016 and defended the belt three times. He won the belt again in 2019 and defended it once in that run. He is widely regarded as the best UFC heavyweight ever but has been out of competition since March 2021. There were some rumors that he would be returning in a championship bout against Jon Jones, but now the UFC is taking a different path. 

Jones is making his heavyweight debut later this year when he takes on Ciryl Gane. Miocic has mentioned wanting to take on the winner in July, now he is elaborating a bit more. 

Stipe Miocic wants to fight Jon Jones for the heavyweight belt in July

Miocic has moved on a bit personally since his last fight in the UFC. He has become a full-time firefighter after many years of part-time work. He spoke about his outside-the-cage life a bit on The MMA Hour and expressed that now he is able to get a pension and benefits for his family. This is the sort of thing that Ngannou was fighting for within the UFC. He wanted fighters to have benefits and to be compensated better. Miocic admits that he was hoping to face Ngannou once again, but applauded him for standing to his convictions. 

“It’s his decision, but I would have loved another crack at him,” he said. “Unfortunately it didn’t pan out that way but listen, he’s doing what’s best for him and his family. He thinks it’s the right way to go, it’s his decision. I wish him nothing but the best. I get it. I mean, to me it’ll be a long time before any of that happens, you know, try to move in the right direction, which is great, but it will be a long time before any of that happens.”

Miocic is a full-time firefighter but still wants to fight again in the UFC. He explained that he was ready and willing to step in against Jon Jones in March for the belt, but it was the UFC’s decision to go with Gane. Miocic offered himself to the winner in July but is adamant about wanting to fight again at 40 years old.

“I was ready to go, just never got the call,” he said. “There were times when they need me and I said yes and they went in a different direction. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.”

Since Miocic is ready to return and has offered his services in the summer, it would make sense for that to be the fight that the UFC sets up. He did not seem too concerned with the when and how at this time. He mentioned wanting to test himself against Jones who he called “The Greatest Of All Time.” Jones is interested in this matchup with Miocic as well. In order for that matchup to happen, Jones will first need to get past the former interim champion Gane. 

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