Stipe Miocic’s recovery time was drastically shortened, and he might have returned to play as early as July.
The former two-time UFC heavyweight champion made a public challenge over the weekend to fight the winner of the main event between Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane at UFC 285. However, Miocic revealed on Wednesday’s episode of The MMA Hour that he had actually hoped to fight Jones for the vacant UFC heavyweight strap on March 4, but the matchup never came to fruition.
Miocic stated this when appearing on The MMA Hour.
“They went with Ciryl.
“I’m not a matchmaker, I can’t tell you [why]. I don’t know. [The UFC] just went a different direction, so they said maybe July.”
Miocic, who is 40 years old, holds the record for the most heavyweight championships won in the history of the UFC. The Ohio native has successfully defended his championship a total of four times during his two separate stints as heavyweight champion of the UFC. His three successful title defenses in a row from 2016-2018 are the most ever achieved by a UFC heavyweight champion.
Miocic expressed his displeasure on Wednesday that he was eventually left out of the running for the title at UFC 285, but he is still holding out hope that he will have another opportunity to compete for the championship in the future.
“Yeah, I definitely was [disappointed],” Miocic said.
“[Jones] is great fight, it’s a great matchup for me, but at the end of the day, it’s not my decision unfortunately. But we’ll see what happens. I think those two guys are going to go out and have a fight, they’re both gamers, and I’d love to get a crack at one of those guys, whoever wins it.”
After spending the majority of his UFC career working in a part-time capacity, he has not competed since Francis Ngannou knocked him out in the second round of their match in March 2021 and won the heavyweight championship. The outcome brought Miocic and Ngannou series to a 1-1 tie, and Miocic voiced his dissatisfaction on Wednesday about the likelihood that he will never get the chance to settle the series with a rubber match now that Ngannou has parted ways with the UFC.
Since his loss to Ngannou, Miocic has been absent from competition due, according to him, to a number of personal issues that have arisen in his private life. However, Miocic and his wife celebrated the birth of their second child in August 2021, and Miocic sadly lost his father this past November. He declined to elaborate on the nature of those issues, but he did say that Miocic and his wife had their second child. However, he is prepared to jump back into the fray at this point.
Miocic explained, “Man, I had a lot going on.
“Just spending time with my family and had personal things going on that I needed take care of, but overall I’ve just been busy, and the way things shook out with these fights, it just didn’t happen the way it was supposed to. I was ready to go but just never got the call.
“There’s times when they needed me and I said yes, and then it was just kind of, ‘We went in a different direction.’ What are you going to do? Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Miocic stated that he believes the chances that he fights the winner of Jones vs. Gane next are “pretty good,” and he expressed an unwillingness to return for anything other than a shot at the UFC heavyweight title. Jones and Gane will be battling it out for the right to become the champion of the UFC heavyweight division. He did not choose a victor for the main event of UFC 285, but he did admit that Jones would be his preferred opponent out of the two options he had. This feeling appears to be mutual, given Jones’ recent comments about wanting to fight Miocic.