UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is scheduled to face fast-rising star Francis Ngannou for his third title defense at UFC 220.
And just based on Ngannou’s last knockout win over Alistair Overeem, fighters like Fabricio Werdum are betting on the slightly younger Cameroonian fighter to pull off the win.
Miocic, however, remains unfazed. While he does recognize what Ngannou can bring to the table, the Ohio native is assured that the belt will not be changing hands after fight night.
“I think he’s a great fighter. Definitely, he brings it. Hits hard,” Miocic told Joe Rogan on a recent episode of the JRE MMA Show podcast.
“But unfortunately nothing’s going to change. I’m walking out with the belt still wrapped around my waist.”
“I’m excited for him; he’s going to get his shot. But as long as I’m here, no one’s going to be champ.”
Miocic was straightforward in recognizing Ngannou’s punching power, and how it has made him a dark horse in the heavyweight division. But at the same time, he says it is nothing new to him, looking back at his recent resume of fights.
“His power, I guess, but I think everyone hits hard in the heavyweight division,” Miocic said.
“I mean, 260-pound men, 250-pound men, you’re not supposed to be hit by something like that. I fought ‘JDS,’ I fought Alistair Overeem, I fought Mark Hunt.”
“I fought guys who threw hard. And he’s a little wild too, which, that’s tough. Sometimes you can’t prepare for that because there’s punches you don’t see.”
Miocic also acknowledged the vast improvement on Ngannou’s part but is also secure about his own skill set that brought him to the top.
“I’ll find out Jan. 20. I think I’ll be alright,” Miocic said.
“I have the best coaches in the world, I’m pretty confident walking in there. He’s a big dude, throws hard, but that’s every heavyweight. It doesn’t take much.”
“He’s definitely gotten better, there’s no question, but we’ll see what happens,” he continued. “Listen, I’m going out there for broke. I’m going out there to win.”
UFC 220 takes place at the TD Garden in Boston and will be co-headlined by the light heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Volkan Oezdemir.