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Stipe Miocic slowly distancing himself from Francis Ngannou rematch — ‘Want a new challenge’

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Stipe Miocic believes in social distancing and wants to stay six fights away from Francis Ngannou.

UFC 226: Miocic v Cormier Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Reigning UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, who recently concluded his hard-hitting trilogy with former 265-pound titleholder Daniel Cormier, is slowly distancing himself from a Francis Ngannou rematch.

“Francis isn’t exciting to me, already put on a 25-minute clinic on how to beat him,” Miocic wrote on Instagram. “Want a new challenge! Would love to box.”

I find it hard to believe that a combatant like Miocic, who beat up Ngannou in their first go-round back in early 2018, would have any reservations about running it back. And this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about his desire to box.

At the same time, Miocic (20-3) and his coaches are intelligent enough to understand that he won’t be competing against the same Ngannou he planished at UFC 220 and may be faced with a more dangerous “Predator” the second time around.

Or not.

Working in the champ’s favor is the fact that former 205-pound champion Jon Jones is teasing a jump up to the heavyweight division and with his “undefeated record” could easily bump Ngannou (15-3) and slide into a 265-pound title shot.

Expect to find out in the next couple of weeks, if not sooner.