We haven’t seen much of heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic since he won his UFC title back off Daniel Cormier at UFC 241 in August of 2019. That’s because the 37 year old fireman is still recovering from damage done to his eyes during that fight. Well, the good news is Miocic just got cleared to start training again. The bad news is it could still be a while before we even know when he’ll actually take another bout.
“Better. A lot better. It’s healed up,” Miocic said (via MMA Fighting) about his eye when talking to press at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards, where he was dubbed Pro Athlete of the Year. “I’m taking my time with it because I’m 37, I don’t want to injure it again or something. I want to be able to see out of both eyes when I get older so that’s all I really care about right now. I love fighting but my health’s more important.”
“No [timeline], not right now,” Miocic continued. “I just got cleared so take my time getting back in the swing of things.”
As for who he may fight upon his return?
“Whoever they want me to fight,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t really care, I’ll put on a clinic on Ngannou again, too, it doesn’t matter to me.”
But his agent Jim Walter sounded way less accommodating when it came to Stipe’s next fight.
”We hope to have Stipe back in competition this year in a fight that makes sense and against an opponent that Stipe has not beaten before,” Walter told ESPN. “He is more than willing to defend his belt. If an opportunity presents itself outside the UFC, Tyson Fury and Stipe spoke face-to-face in Las Vegas at the Conor McGregor fight.”
The UFC’s preference, of course, is to have Stipe fight a rubber match against Daniel Cormier. The two are 1-1 against each other and Cormier is on the verge of retiring, so it’s now or never. We’re not exactly surprised that Miocic isn’t all that eager to face “DC” again, but as Cormier reminded him following last night’s UFC on ESPN+ show, fair is fair.
”Stipe and me are gonna fight next,” Cormier said. “That’s exactly what’s supposed to happen, it’s what’s gonna happen. I know they say they want something new. Hell, I wanted something new after I beat him and I gave him a rematch. So it’s only right to do the right thing. You’re honorable, right, Stipe? You’re a fireman, you save lives, you do the right thing all the time. Do the right thing and give me my rematch.”
What do you think, Maniacs? Who is the best opponent for Miocic’s next heavyweight defense?