Stipe Miocic wasn’t planning on competing again during 2021, but he still would have appreciated some consideration when the UFC suddenly decided to crown an interim heavyweight champion back in August.
Following a knockout loss to Francis Ngannou back in March, the two-time UFC heavyweight king was ready to put his full attention on the birth of his son while also allowing his body and mind to heal in order to prepare for what he hoped would be a third fight against “The Predator.”
Instead, the UFC opted to book an interim title fight between Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis with the winner then moving onto face Ngannou and unfortunately, Miocic didn’t figure into any of those plans.
“I would have loved to have been asked,” Miocic said about the interim title fight snub when appearing on The MMA Hour. “I feel like I understand what the UFC’s doing, it’s a business, but at the same time I think that I deserved a trilogy fight.
“I wasn’t even asked for the interim fight. Who knows if I would have taken it but just it would have been nice to be asked. Just toes in the water. I don’t know [if I would have taken it]. We don’t know. It’s over with.”
Gane ultimately dispatched Lewis by TKO, which then positioned him for the title unification bout against Ngannou at UFC 270 in January.
While there’s not much that can be done about it now, Miocic truly believed that he should have been considered for an immediate rematch after he dominated Ngannou in their first fight back in 2018.
“Listen, I’m used to it,” Miocic said. “It is what it is. It’s business. I get it but at the same time, I feel like I was deserving of a trilogy fight. Everyone else has gotten one but me.”
Miocic added that he still hasn’t gone back to watch the last fight against Ngannou but without seeing a single second of the footage, he knows exactly what went wrong that night.
“I let him dictate the pace. I let him do what he wanted,” Miocic said. “I just didn’t do what I want, just kind of stayed back. Got hit a few times, took a terrible shot. There was a lot of things I did wrong. But listen, we all make mistakes. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
“He hit me with some good shots but that left hook is the one I didn’t see. I hit him with that right and I came in guns blazing with my hands down and he hit me with the one I didn’t see. That was end of it.”
With Ngannou tied up through at least January, Miocic is now stuck as the odd man out with hopes that he will still get another crack at the title in his next fight.
If that’s not made available to him, the 39-year-old Ohio native would also be interested in a showdown against former 205-pound champion Jon Jones as he plans to move to heavyweight in 2022.
There were rumors swirling that the UFC was interested in booking that matchup but Jones balked at fighting anybody other than the person holding onto the heavyweight title once he made his debut.
“I’m down,” Miocic said about fighting Jones. “I don’t think he wanted it. I don’t know the whole story but I’m down. Then he wants a title shot. I know he’s done well, he’s probably one of the greatest of all time but you’ve still got to wait your order. That’s like me going to light heavyweight and being like I want a shot.”
As much as Miocic would take the fight against Jones if that’s what the UFC offers, he’s still mainly focused on finishing his trilogy with Ngannou and reclaiming the heavyweight title.
That would mean more to him than anything else but Miocic added that he’s currently slated to travel to Las Vegas in December to speak with the UFC about what comes next for him.
“I’ll fight anyone like I always say [but] I really want that trilogy fight,” Miocic said. “That [title] was mine. I want it back.
“Definitely get a trilogy [in 2022]. Get my shot back at the title. Get my belt back. Back to normal. Everything’s back to normal.”