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Stipe Miocic targets July fight with Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane winner after UFC went in ‘different direction’

UFC 260: Miocic v Ngannou 2 Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Stipe Miocic is still plotting his comeback.

UFC 285 on March 4, 2023, plays host to the long-awaited Heavyweight debut of Jon Jones. Expectations were high for the Light Heavyweight great’s return. Assumptions were that Jones would have an immediate title tilt against now-former champion, Francis Ngannou, and if not him, the prior champion, Miocic.

Instead, UFC went with the former interim champion, France’s Ciryl Gane, despite attempts to work something out between Miocic and Jones.

“Yeah, [I was]. They went with Ciryl,” Miocic told The MMA Hour. “Yeah, definitely 100 percent [I was open to it]. Not a matchmaker, couldn’t tell you. I don’t know. They just went in a different direction and said, ‘Maybe July.’

“I definitely was [disappointed],” he continued. “It’s a great fight, great match up for me, but at the end of the day, not my decision, unfortunately. We’ll see what happens. I think those two guys will put on a hell of a fight, they’re both gamers, and I’d love a crack at one of those guys, whoever wins it.”

Like Jones, Miocic’s next fight will see him return from a lengthy layoff as he last fought in March 2021 when suffering a second-round knockout loss to Ngannou (watch highlights). Speculation has spread regarding Miocic’s future now that he’s 40 and continues his role as a firefighter, but the Ohio native confirmed that he does indeed plan to fight again.

“I would have loved to have fought Francis again, but it’s not gonna happen,” Miocic said. “It’s his decision. I wish he would have stayed because I would have loved a crack at him. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out that way, but listen, he’s doing what’s best for him and his family. He thinks it’s the right way to go, it’s his decision. I wish him nothing but the best and hope it works out.”

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