A new era in the heavyweight division got underway earlier this year, when former two-time UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones made an emphatic and successful debut in the weight class.
Following a three-year hiatus, “Bones” returned with further history in his sights, something he achieved by dominantly submitting Ciryl Gane in one round at UFC 285, winning the heavyweight gold in the process.
Soon after, Jones’ first defense was quickly lined up. And although it took some time to become official, the Rochester native finally has a date in the calendar for his long-awaited showdown with divisional great Stipe Miocic.
The pair will head to New York City to main event UFC 295 at Madison Square Garden on November 11. It’ll serve as one of two championship contests set for the event, with Jiří Procházka and Alex Pereira also slated to throw down for the 205-pound belt.
For Miocic, the matchup marks his first since a brutal end to his second heavyweight reign in 2021. Back then, the Ohio native was viciously knocked out by Cameroonian powerhouse Francis Ngannou.
With his layoff in mind and the early heavyweight success achieved by Jones, Miocic is being widely counted out in the lead-up to the year’s penultimate pay-per-view.
One of his former opponents, however, has spoken about the impact such doubt can have on the veteran heavyweight’s performance come fight night.
Cormier Highlights ‘Interesting’ Pre-Fight Talk From Miocic
During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, former two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier looked ahead to the comeback of Miocic, whom he shared the Octagon with three times during his career.
After shockingly dethroning Miocic via knockout in their first fight, “DC” witnessed a different side to the Ohio native ahead of their rematch, which he ultimately lost.
Cormier explained how Miocic’s dangerous mindset on that occasion was born out of the doubt placed on him by the MMA community. And given some recent quotes, the ex-light heavyweight and heavyweight titleholder is recognizing the same “chip” on the challenger’s shoulder ahead of UFC 295.
“I start to think and look at some of the quotes. Stipe Miocic does not talk very much… But recently he did an interview and Stipe had some very interesting quotes,” Cormier said. “I want to make these comparisons for you. I think in these quotes, it tells you the mindset of the former two-time heavyweight champion of the world and who is considered the greatest heavyweight fighter we’ve ever seen.
“I remember after I beat him the first time, how some of his quotes and his attitude started to change towards me. It was him taking offense to the way the public perceived him,” Cormier continued. “He carries that chip when you start to doubt him. He said, ‘You guys think I’m going to lose, good for you. Waste all your money.’ … Hey, I remember sitting at press conferences with Miocic and he would say things like that, ‘Doubt me,’ and he would almost smirk because he knew what most in the public didn’t know; the way he was training, the way he was preparing, and his intent in the fight. Obviously, he beat me two times back-to-back while he was saying those things… This is one of the most dangerous men on the planet. He’s carrying that chip.”
While the odds and predictions of many have him falling short come fight night at MSG on November 11, Miocic has vowed to deliver a blow to those betting against him by ensuring Jones’ heavyweight reign is a short one.
IT’S OFFICIALLY HAPPENING 🚨@JonnyBones vs @StipeMiocic for the heavyweight title will headline #UFC295 at Madison Square Garden!! pic.twitter.com/Que6RwEjo4
— UFC (@ufc) July 7, 2023
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