Stipe Miocic & His Agent Discuss Who’s Next For The Heavyweight Champ
Five months on from recapturing the UFC heavyweight title, Stipe Miocic has been cleared to fight again. Having lost the belt to Daniel Cormier at UFC 226, the 37 year old reclaimed the title by stopping ‘DC’ last August at UFC 241.
Although Miocic left Anaheim, California with the belt, it came at a cost. It was revealed a month after UFC 241 that Stipe had sustained a major retina injury, due to several eye pokes during the fight.
Speaking at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards, where Miocic was named Pro Athlete of the Year, the heavyweight champion was asked how his eye was.
“Better, a lot better. It’s healed up. Taking my time with it because I’m 37, so I don’t want to injure it again. I want to be able to see out of both eyes when I’m older. So that’s all I care about right now. I love fighting but my health’s more important.”
When asked if he had his next opponent lined up, Miocic implied that he was in no rush to book his next fight.
“No, not right now. I just got cleared, so I’m taking my time, getting back in to the swing of things. We’ll figure it out, see what happens.”
And when asked about UFC president Dana White’s comments that he will face Cormier next, when he’s fit and healthy, Miocic said he didn’t care who he faces next. Adding that he’d be happy to fight Francis Ngannou again.
“That’s what he says but he says a lot of things that aren’t true. It could be. Who knows? Whoever they want me to fight, honestly. I don’t really care. I’ll put on a clinic on Ngannou again too, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Meanwhile, Miocic’s agent Jim Walter, echoed his man’s comments on his health.
“Mr. Miocic’s health is his top priority. Until we are 100 percent confident — or at least remotely confident — his short- and long-term vision will be sustained, he will not be returning to competition. We have been working closely with a variety of medical professionals to help ensure that Mr. Miocic can return to competition — whether it be in the Octagon or in the boxing ring,” Walter told ESPN.
“Stipe is the ultimate competitor and wants to fight but is unwilling to jeopardise his health. He sustained multiple eye pokes and damage to his retina from his previous fight against Daniel Cormier. His priority is his health and vision, his daughter and his family.”
Walter went on to say that the plan is for Miocic to defend his title against someone he hasn’t beaten before. Therefore ruling out Cormier and Ngannou. While he didn’t mention any UFC heavyweight’s names, he did suggest a fight with Tyson Fury could be on the cards.
“After his health is cleared, we hope to have Stipe back in competition this year in a fight that makes sense and against an opponent that Stipe has not beaten before. He is more than wiling to defend his belt. If an opportunity presents itself outside the UFC, Tyson Fury and Stipe spoke face-to-face in Las Vegas at the Conor McGregor fight.”
Fury teased of a move to MMA at the end of 2019 and called out, and was called out by Miocic. The lineal heavyweight boxing champion has since stated that while he’s not interested in taking an MMA bout, he would like to box a UFC champion inside the Octagon, wearing MMA gloves.
Who would you like to see Stipe Miocic return against?