UFC targets London show in March as heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic says he’s happy to return in the UK

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion of the world Stipe Miocic was in London this week and speaking exclusively to the Independent, he outlined a timeframe for his return to the Octagon.

Miocic won the UFC heavyweight title earlier this year at UFC 198 in Brasilia, Brazil, against Fabricio Werdum after a first round knockout. Just four months later, the American defended his title for the first time against Alistair Overeem in his hometown of Cleveland at UFC 203 where he again won via knockout inside the first round.

After fighting three times in eight months, Miocic declared shortly after his victory at UFC 203 that he would like some time off and that he wouldn’t be fighting again in 2016. Speaking today in London, the UFC heavyweight revealed exactly why he’d asked for the timeout.

“I’m beat up you know—getting old sucks,” Miocic joked. “I’m starting to fall apart and I’m getting out of bed and trying to stand up and them I’m just like ‘ahhh, that hurts’ and something pops.

“It was just that and that I wanted to let my body rest and recover a bit. I just wanted everything to feel better and then get ready for my next camp and my next fight. It was also that I wanted to enjoy the holidays with my family, but it was more so that I just wanted to heal up.”

Asked when he would like to make a return, Miocic had a timeframe in mind but said that he will be ready as and when the UFC wanted him back.

“I’m hoping to return in March you know,” Miocic said. “Sometime early on in 2017 or maybe early Spring.

“I’ll do whatever they [UFC] want. I’m not a matchmaker or an event planner—if I was I wouldn’t be fighting. It’s all about whatever they wanted me to do and whoever they want me to fight.”

Having attracted over 16,000 people and generated a live gate of $1.96 million last month in Manchester for UFC 204, British fans will be delighted to know that the UFC’s return to the UK could come sooner than they might have thought.

Sources close to the Independent have indicated that the UFC have pencilled in a date in March for an event to be held in London at the O2 Arena.

When asked whether defending his belt on that date would be of any interest, Miocic reiterated it would ultimately be up to the UFC, but that he would happily fight in London despite his preference to be closer to home.

“I hate flying and I hate traveling, but if they want me to fight in the UK then I’d love to the fight in the UK,” Miocic said. “It’d be awesome, but honestly I’m not picky.

“I’m just the champion. Where ever they want me to go, I’m going to be ready to go.”