CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The last time Stipe squared off with Francis Ngannou, three years ago, it was Stipe’s third title defense, and while it went five rounds, Miocic dominated, by forcing Ngannou to wrestle.
Saturday night at the Apex, just outside of Vegas, they square off again, but this time in a smaller cage. Will that benefit Ngannou, who’s been on a knockout tear in his past four fights?
“The smaller cage is a little bit tougher, because you don’t have as much area to move,” Miocic told me during a zoom interview. “But I think if you can make the smaller cage work for you, you’re good, no matter who you’re fighting. I think I’ll be fine on Saturday. He’s a big swinger, he throws hard. I can swing hard, too.”
Stipe has proven that. 15 of his 20 wins have come by knockout. And his four successful title defenses are a UFC heavyweight record.
He’s also 38. How much longer can he fight? He says as long as he’s having fun, and ... still setting an example for his family.
I asked him if his legacy, and being remembered as the greatest heavyweight of all-time, matters to him.
“I mean, that’s someone’s opinion. One guy can say ‘yes’, another guy can say ‘no’, " Miocic said. “I would like my child to realize that, ‘you know, your dad was pretty cool ... he did some good stuff’. Also, I want to show them that hard work pays off. Just be good to people and good things will happen to you. And also, nothing’s ever given, it’s all earned, so work hard, and you’ll get what you want.”
Stipe Miocic is Cleveland to the core. He loves his hometown teams. He’s worked out with Myles Garrett. And he was more than a little happy to see the Browns get Garrett some help.
“Looks like the Browns had a good time last week, signing some good DB’s,” Miocic said. “I was like ‘YES!’, oh man. I was screaming. Who was that first guy, (John) Johnson? I was over the moon.”