clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Matt Mitrione: Regardless of Bellator heavyweight tournament, Stipe Miocic still No. 1 in the world

New, comments
SiriusXM at Super Bowl LI Radio Row Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Matt Mitrione has a lot of work to do if he wants to win the eight-man Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix tournament, and it all starts later tonight (Fri., Feb. 16, 2018) at Bellator 194 live on Paramount Network from inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., when he takes on former UFC contender Roy Nelson.

Mitrione, 39, is coming off a career-defining knockout victory over the legendary Fedor Emelianenko last year in New York City. Should “Meathead” win Bellator’s heavyweight tournament, it would mean he outlasted the likes of not only Nelson and Emelianenko (again), but also notable mixed martial arts (MMA) stars Frank Mir, Chael Sonnen, Quinton Jackson, Ryan Bader, and Muhammed Lawal.

Still, Mitrione wouldn’t consider himself the best heavyweight in the world if he’s able to win the eight-main extravaganza.

“No, I do not (think winning the tournament makes me the top heavyweight),” Mitrione told MMAjunkie. “Stipe is the No. 1 guy in the world. I don’t think anybody can argue that at all.”

Of course, Mitrione is talking about UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. Since the beginning of 2015, Miocic has gone 6-0 in UFC, recorded five knockouts (four in the first round), defended his UFC heavyweight title for a record-setting three times, and knocked off heavyweight standouts Fabricio Werdum, Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Francis Ngannou, Mark Hunt, and Andrei Arlovski.

“I think it would be really dope to have the chance to compete against him,” Mitrione said. “If the Ali Act ever got passed, I think that would be really dope. And I think it would be great for the fans. Then I find out, ‘Are you really that good or not?’

“I think it would be great to have – to get rid of individual promotions. You can’t compete against each other, and I think that’s kind of silly. The American League and the National League (in baseball) compete against each other. It happens all the time in every other sport, so why not this one? It doesn’t make sense.”

For now, Mitrione will have his hands full with Nelson. The two first met back at TUF 16 Finale in 2012 with “Big Country” stopping “Meathead” via first-round TKO, which was the first knockout loss of Mitrione’s career. Mitrione has had considerable success since his UFC departure so it will be interesting to see how the rematch plays out over five years later.

“I look forward to proving to myself that I am the best heavyweight in Bellator,” Mitrione said. “Roy Nelson, he’s the next person, and he beat me. It would be foolish to say anybody else (is a tougher fight).”

For complete Bellator 194 results and coverage click here.