The impending return of Jon Jones appears to have lit a fire under the man widely considered to be the most dominant heavyweight champion in UFC history.
Stipe Miocic, now 40, has been absent from the UFC for almost two years since suffering a knockout defeat to Francis Ngannou which appeared to usher in a new era at heavyweight after Miocic had been involved in a two-year, three-fight rivalry with Daniel Cormier whom he defeated twice (once by knockout and once by decision) after Cormier won their first fight in 2018.
Miocic was frequently linked to fights with Jones throughout the former light heavyweight champion’s extended flirtation with a move to heavyweight, but now that Jones is confirmed to be returning to face Ciryl Gane in March (ending his own three-year exile from the cage in the process) for the heavyweight title, Miocic wants a piece of the action.
Or more specifically, he wants the winner.
March 4th – I like it.
I got winner in July.
— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) January 15, 2023
“March 4th – I like it,” Miocic wrote on Twitter. “I got winner in July.”
Now, there is one fighter who would most likely have a case to object to this: Curtis Blaydes. The American had appeared to be on the verge of a title bout of his own but has sat on the sidelines since a fight with Tom Aspinall last summer in which the Englishman injure his knee in the opening seconds of the fight. Prior to that, he won successive bouts against Chris Daukaus and Jairzinho Rozenstruik — and two of three losses came to Ngannou, who is no longer with the organisation.
While July is a long way away and there is no telling which way UFC matchmakers will go, it seems possible that Miocic’s seniority in the division may stand him in good stead when the immediate future of an Ngannou-less heavyweight division is being mapped out.