Does Stipe Miocic Stand a Chance Against Jon Jones?
Jon Jones recent victory over Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, saw him crowned heavyweight champion. It may have been his first fight in almost three years, but going into it with a record of 26-1-0 (1 NC), he was a heavy favourite with the UFC Odds.
The win sees ‘Bones’ become only the eighth two-division champion in UFC history and opens up the possibility of a blockbuster fight with American heavyweight Stipe Miocic. That would mean a contest between arguably the greatest light heavyweight and heavyweight fighters in mixed martial arts history.
After his victory, Jones wasted no time calling out Miocic, “Stipe Miocic, I hope you’re training my guy. You’re the greatest heavyweight of all-time, and that’s what I want. I want you, real bad.”
Two-time former heavyweight champion Miocic responded by saying, “I love being the underdog, I love being told somethings not gonna happen because I’m the guy that puts a big dagger in that.”
All the indications are that the fight will go ahead this summer with July 8th and UFC 290 looking the most likely date for their title clash. But with Jones looking better than ever after his efficient two minutes and four seconds victory over Gane, does Miocic stand a chance?
The American is considered by many, including Jones, to be the greatest heavyweight fighter in UFC history. He holds the record for the most consecutive successful UFC heavyweight title defences with three, and his career boasts nine first-round finishes and fifteen knockouts.
- Age 40:
- Record: 20-4-0
- Wins by knockout:15
- Wins by decision: 5
- Title defences: 3
Title Wins (2016-2018)
After defeating Brazilian Fabricio Werdum by KO in their UFC heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 198 in 2016, Miocic became the most decorated heavyweight champion of all-time by successfully defending his title versus Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santos, and Francis Ngannou.
Title Wins (2019-2022)
After losing his title against Daniel Cormier at UFC 226, Miocic knocked out Cormier in the fourth-round to regain the heavyweight title at UFC 241. He went on to defend his title in the trilogy fight with Cormier, beating him by decision at UFC 252.
Miocic has had an impressive five victories over former UFC champions during his career, with wins against the likes of Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum, Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem and Daniel Cormier. His last triumph, however, was way back in August 2020, with a five-round defeat of Cormier at UFC 252.
He may have four defeats on his record, but apart from the 2012 disappointment against Stefan Struve early in his career, the American’s other three losses came against Ngannou, dos Santos and Cormier, all UFC champions.
Age is going to be a factor, especially in a punishing heavyweight division where you need to bring everything you have to succeed. Miocic will be 41 when the fight comes around, and while he’s still a great fighter, he’s also giving up 5 years to Jones. The longer the fight goes on, the more those extra years are going to hurt.
Miocic has not fought since a knockout defeat at the hands of Francis Ngannou in March 2021, and his lack of sharpness could be an issue. With only three fights to his name since August 2019, there will be understandable concerns about his readiness to step up against the heavyweight champion. But with the heavyweight division being so brutal, Moicic fans may well argue that the fewer fights the better and that he’ll be fitter and fresher come July.
A former Golden Gloves world champion boxer, Stipe Miocic is an outstanding boxer, his title-winning knockout against Fabricio Werdum is a perfect example of his skills. That means his lead leg can often be left exposed and Jones will no doubt be targeting it in order to nullify his boxing threat. But no matter how good a boxer Miocic is, Jones has never been knocked out, unlike Stipe who has hit the floor twice in his last four fights.
Miocic is an NCAA Division-1 wrestler, and his takedowns were one of the key factors in his victory over Francis Ngannou. ‘Bones’ has had issues imposing his wrestling on opponents in the past, however, work with Olympic gold medallist Henry Cejudo has seen an improvement in his wrestling, as his victory against Ciryl Gane proved. When asked about Miocic’s chances, Cejudo said, “The only way that you’re going to be able to take a guy out like Jon Jones is to wrestle, and good luck with that.”
The fight is expected to take place at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas and expectations are high, as two of the greatest fighters finally go head-to-head. Miocic may be the underdog but he’s a proven winner, capable of beating anyone on his day. One thing’s for sure, whoever wins will be crowned not only the heavyweight champion, but the greatest of all time.
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