Stipe Miocic has gradually -- and quietly -- been etching himself as one of the elite heavyweights in mixed martial arts (MMA) today.
Winning six of his seven bouts inside the Octagon against some of the the best the division has to offer, Miocic has earned his stripes and a spot in the top five of the official rankings (see the list here).
Getting his fourth consecutive win, though, will be a monumental task as the Croat will take on former division kingpin Junior dos Santos at this weekend's (Sat., Dec. 13, 2014) UFC on FOX 13 event in Phoenix, Arizona.
If he manages to get the victory against the heavy-hitting Brazilian, Miocic says there is no denying him a shot at the title, as he recently told FOX Sports:
"I don't see why I wouldn't (get the title shot). I really have no say so or choice, but he's ranked No. 2 behind Fabricio (Werdum), so I don't see why I wouldn't."
Though Miocic labels "JDS" a tough challenge, he still plans on breaking the former champion by laying heavy leather on him.
"He's as tough as they come. He's a former champ. Watching the Cain fights there are a few things that we're working on. Things I can keep in mind so he doesn't do it to me, as well. We have a great game plan working with my coaches and I'll be confident when I walk in there. Every fight's like that. You try to break the guy's will. I'm going to try to do that December 13 and he's going to try to do the same thing with me. Fireworks are going to happen, leather is going to be thrown."
For now, Fabricio Werdum gets next dibs on the current champion, Cain Velasquez, as he looks to shed the interim champion label by unifying the titles sometime in 2015.
And if all goes according to plan this Saturday, Miocic will be ready to take on the winner of that highly-anticipated match up.