Ahead of his second bid at the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 261, Francis Ngannou will be joined by Kamaru Usman in his corner. However Stipe Miocic does not seem to think this will give Francis more of wrestling threat.
When Miocic and Ngannou faced off for the first time, the Nigerian was riding a ton of momentum. His terrifying knockout power presented a threat that few had ever seen inside the Octagon, and it seemed unfathomable that the champ would be able to withstand the punches.
However Stipe proved the doubters wrong, by showing a high defensive skill, en route to a dominating decision win. Since then, both men have had ups and downs, which has ultimately led to a rematch between the two, set to take place this weekend, at UFC 261.
Kamaru Usman Will Make No Difference
When they meet this time around, Francis Ngannou has promised that he has made some improvements. This resulted in him being a slight betting favorite over Stipe Miocic yet again, even though there has been no actual proof of his so-called improvements.
One of the noticeable changes this time around, is that Francis will have welterweight champ Kamaru Usman in his corner. Speaking in a recent interview, Stipe explained that this could result in Francis having a more grappling heavy gameplan, but that will not make any difference in the Octagon.
“They’re friends too, and I think Usman’s a great champion and its great to have him in (Ngannou’s) corner. Good for him,” Miocic said.
“I don’t know (how much better his grappling is), we’ll find out. If it happens, I’ll let you know if we get down there. Wherever it goes, if it stays on the feet I’ll be fine, if it goes to the ground I’ll be fine. Nothing’s going to change. I have a great gameplan, I’m conditioned, I’m ready, I’m doing everything I need to do to win this fight, which I will.”
Stipe Miocic Is Not Afraid Of The Power
Of course, grappling aside, the biggest threat that Francis Ngannou poses is easily with his nightmarish power. That said, Stipe Miocic is not overly concerned about this, as he knows what to expect.
The way Stipe looks at it, he may get scuffed up on the face, but he is prepared to handle anything Francis throws at him. He plans on leaving the Octagon with his belt, no matter what Francis has to offer.
“I don’t like losing. I like winning, and I think with training over the years, you mature and you learn and you experience things… Over the years you just learn yourself and you get to know yourself and you get to understand what you can do more,” Miocic explained.
“He hits hard, no question. I think he does bring the power, but if I keep my hands up and chin down, I’ll be good. I already know I’ll get hit, it’s a fight. Unfortunately I get touched up easily, so you can flick me and I’ll probably bruise. He does hit hard, but I just gotta weather that storm and I’ll be good.”
UFC 261 will tell us if Stipe Miocic can withstand the power that Francis Ngannou possesses for a second time. No matter what ends up happening, it should be an exciting matchup for the heavyweight strap.