Stipe Miocic is back.
It’s been nothing but golden intentions for Miocic since he captured his first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world Heavyweight title in May 2016. Knocking out the legendary Fabricio Werdum just under three minutes in the then-champion’s home of Brazil, Miocic went on to become the most successful titleholder in promotional history at Heavyweight. After four title defenses overall across two reigns, Cleveland, Ohio’s favorite fighting son is ready to start his third.
Miocic, 41, ends a two-year hiatus when he challenges another all-time great, Jon Jones, for the title at UFC 295 in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 11, 2023. The obstacle in front of Miocic will arguably be his greatest yet despite having past encounters with names like Daniel Cormier, Francis Ngannou, Junior dos Santos, and Alistair Overeem. While many look at the near-flawless Jones with an aura around him, Miocic admits his opponent isn’t necessarily normal, but nothing different from any other fighter in that sense.
“I don’t think any fight with any fighter I’ll take them as ‘normal’ because not many people are going to get into an Octagon with another man or woman, so they’re definitely not normal,” Miocic told MMA Mania. “There’s a lot of things he brings to the game that I have to be ready for but also I bring a lot to the game that he has to get ready for so it’s gonna make for an amazing night. The show’s on Veteran’s Day, it doesn’t get bigger than that, MSG, New York, it’s awesome.”
A win for Miocic would get him back in the win column after dropping his title to the aforementioned Ngannou his last time out. The end may be in sight for the former champion, but that’s been a reoccurring possibility his entire career, admitting he’s thought about retirement since his UFC debut in October 2011.
Jones has proven to be a tricky puzzle for his opponents in all 29 of his professional bouts, often defeating his opponents at their own game. In his Heavyweight debut this past March 2023, “Bones” went against his typical strategies, using his wrestling to ultimately finish Ciryl Gane with a guillotine in just over two minutes (watch highlights).
Miocic can’t quite say what he expects on fight night. He just knows Jones will be able to say the same.
“I’m not gonna worry about what he’s gonna do, I’m gonna worry about what I’m doing and go out there and do my job,” Miocic said. “I know he’s gonna come out with a great gameplan, I know he has great coaches and they’re gonna have a great gameplan for him and my coaches will do the same. Stick to my gameplan and listen to my coaches and walk out with the belt.”
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