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Stipe Miocic says Francis Ngannou ‘hits hard,’ but is ‘just another dude’

UFC 220 Press Conference Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

You really can’t blame UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic for exuding a ton of confidence leading into his title defense opposite knockout sensation Francis Ngannou at UFC 220 on Jan. 20 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

After all, Miocic has recorded five-straight knockout finishes en route to tying the UFC heavyweight record for most consecutive title defenses (2).

So while the majority of the combat sports world is blowing up over Ngannou’s overall punching power and near decapitation of mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran Alistair Overeem this past December, Miocic isn’t getting his panties in a bunch for UFC 220. In fact, the Ohio native is viewing “Predator” as just another contender in the unpredictable heavyweight class.

“He’s tough, he’s big, strong, hits hard but he’s just another dude,” Miocic said in a recent interview with FloCombat. “That’s what it is.”

“You’re telling me Mark Hunt doesn’t hit that hard? Or Roy Nelson? Or Junior dos Santos? Come on,” Miocic added. “He hits hard and definitely if you get hit square like that [it’s bad news], but I’m definitely going to keep my head up, keep my head on a swivel, and make sure I’m doing everything right.”

Despite being just two weeks away from putting his title on the line against Ngannou at UFC 220, Miocic has only really had one opportunity to size the French heavyweight up. That came during a recent press conference in Las Vegas, in which Ngannou said Miocic will simply “try to survive” on Jan. 20.

“I was there so I don’t get fined,” Miocic said about his press conference appearance. “Let him do what he wants. He’s doing well. He’s doing something right, he’s fighting for the title.

”But like I said, as long as I’m here, nobody else is getting that belt. I worked way too hard to give it up. I sacrificed way too much to give it up. Unfortunately, as long as I’m here, no one’s getting that belt.”

If Miocic is able to get past Ngannou at UFC 220 and lock down his third-straight title defense the case could be made that the UFC champion is the greatest heavyweight of all time. But if Miocic is unable to ward off the blistering punching power of Ngannou, we may be looking at the next big superstar in MMA.

For more UFC 220 fight card news click here.

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