Former UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is dead set on getting his title back.
Miocic (20-4 MMA, 14-4 UFC) lost his belt to Francis Ngannou in their rematch at UFC 260 and with the score tied at one a piece, he wants to close out their chapter.
After negotiations with former light heavyweight champ Jon Jones went sour, UFC president Dana White revealed that Miocic will get a shot at the winner of Ngannou (16-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) vs. Derrick Lewis, which is projected to take place in August.
“Great news,” Miocic told Submission Radio on White saying he’s next. “It’s what I was expecting, but you never know what could happen. But I’m real happy with that. … When I have a contract, then it’ll be real.”
He continued, “Honestly, I don’t care who it is. I really would love to fight Francis again for the rematch and get that W back over him in the rubber match. But yeah, I don’t care who it is. I’m not preferring anyone, but if I had a choice, I would want to fight Ngannou again. Just because he beat me last time and took the belt.”
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An idea White floated around was Miocic vs. Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC), but Jones said he wasn’t interested. If Jones is indeed next for the former champion, Miocic says it’ll certainly be a great fight for his legacy but insists that getting his belt back is the only thing on his mind.
“It is what it is,” Miocic said of Jones shutting him down. “I mean, listen, I’m not a matchmaker. I’m not worried about what he thinks or says. I just need to get my rematch and get my belt back, my ‘punch-drunk’ ass. …
“Of course. He’s one of the pound-for-pound best fighters ever, of all time. I mean, he’s done so well. It’d be great, but I’m not gonna worry about what he wants to do or how much he wants to get paid, and I’m only here for one goal, and that’s to get my belt back.”
Miocic was able to instill a heavy grappling approach in his first outing with Ngannou in 2018, weathering an early storm and before wearing him down over the course of five rounds. However, in the rematch, Ngannou was able to stuff Miocic’s takedowns and knock him out in Round 2.
The record holder for most title defenses in UFC heavyweight history, Miocic admits he may have been too small in his fight with Ngannou and plans on bulking up. Miocic is no stranger to trilogies, having bested Daniel Cormier twice in a row to leave no doubt on who the better man was.
He’s confident he can right those wrongs against Ngannou and once again close out a trilogy with his hand raised.
“It was his night,” Miocic said. “I’m not gonna take that away from him. And he didn’t get lucky, he just caught me with a punch I didn’t see, and it is what it is. And congrats to him. He won the title, but I’m coming back to get what’s mine. I know what I did wrong, and I’ll come back stronger and better and more prepared and take back what’s mine.”