We may not have seen Stipe Miocic in action since his title loss to Francis Ngannou in 2021, but the former two-time UFC heavyweight champion hasn’t been inactive. Far from it.
Miocic was knocked out by Ngannou at UFC 260 as he lost the heavyweight title in Las Vegas two years ago. But now he has the opportunity to become a three-time UFC heavyweight champion when he challenges newly-crowned champion Jon Jones in the main event of UFC 295 in New York on November 11.
It’s a fight he’s waited a long time to finally get signed and sealed and, speaking to BT Sport at UFC 290, Miocic said he’s ready to return and recapture the title once again.
“And new! I’m winning my belt back,” he said.
“I’m just excited, finally. It’s a long time coming, you know. It’s the fight you want, it’s the fight I definitely want. I’ve been wanting this fight for a long time. And finally, it’s came.”
The matchup pits the UFC’s greatest heavyweight champion against the former light heavyweight king, and a man who many believe is the best fighter to ever grace the sport.
It’s a matchup that gets Miocic’s competitive juices flowing, and he’s looking forward to testing himself against “Bones” in November. However, as Miocic admitted, there’s very little heavyweight footage of the new champion to work with, thanks to Jones’ swift, one-sided defeat of Ciryl Gane.
“I mean, there’s not much you can take from it,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter. It’s Jon Jones, he’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeve, and he’s a great fighter, and one of the best of all time. So now I’m gonna be ready for whatever he brings to me on November 11, and we’re gonna have some fun.”
Miocic, who admitted he might bulk up a little before facing Jones, said that he has never stopped training since his loss to Ngannou, and said that he’ll enter the Octagon with some new tricks to deploy against the defending champ
“I’ve always been training,” he explained.
“It’s been great. I’ve let my body rest, at the same time, not pushing it too much. But I’ve been training, having fun. It’s been great.
“I’m always working on something new. Something new to think about, something to see, something that I do. That’s why I have the best coaches in the world. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be where I’m at, and having this opportunity. I’m gonna take this opportunity with both hands.”
Miocic, who still works as a firefighter and paramedic back home in Ohio, said that he will continue to juggle his day job with his side hustle of being one of the best heavyweights on the planet. While others may suggest he’d be better off focusing on fighting, Miocic wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’m gonna do what I always do – work and train,” he said.
“I’m good. I make sure I’ll be alright. I have a good strategy on how I do everything. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So we’re good.”
Miocic said that, as always, his feet will be kept firmly on the ground by his colleagues in the Fire Department, with the banter always flying around.
“Oh yeah, there is no question. Especially when they’re hammering me, in a good way!” he grinned.
“They’re all great guys, and I’m very lucky to be at the department that I’m at.
“I’m at a new (department) now. So it’s even worse now! I’m just lucky they’re very supportive and it’s great to have those guys behind me, backing me.”
Miocic will be 41 years old by the time fight night in New York rolls around. But the laid-back former champ said he still gets excited by big fight night occasions, and there are none bigger for him than a heavyweight title fight at the iconic Madison Square Garden.
“Oh, it’s amazing,” he enthused.
“I got to fight in Boston, and that was amazing. But the Mecca, Madison Square Garden. To me, that’s a bucket list (item) checked.”