Stipe Miocic on Francis Ngannou’s UFC Departure and Boxing Potential
Stipe Miocic Understands Francis Ngannou’s Battle with UFC
Former UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, has expressed his understanding of Francis Ngannou’s years-long fight with the UFC. Speaking on The MMA Hour, Miocic stated, “I get it. Francis was trying to move the sport in the right direction, but it’s going to take a long time for any of that to happen.”
Ngannou recently became the first UFC champion to depart the promotion in the middle of a title reign in over a decade. He sought several concessions outside the standard UFC contract, including health insurance for all fighters and the right to pursue his own in-cage sponsorships. However, the UFC was not receptive to these requests and focused only on offering more money, which ultimately failed to sway Ngannou.
“I would’ve loved to have fought Francis again, but it’s not going to happen,” Miocic said.
Miocic, who has also dealt with his fair share of behind-the-scenes issues with the UFC, has no ill will towards Ngannou for his decision to leave. The former two-time heavyweight champion wishes he could have settled his rivalry with Ngannou in a trilogy bout before his departure, but recognizes that Ngannou is doing what is best for himself and his family.
“Listen, it’s his decision. I wish he would’ve stayed because I wanted another crack at him. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way, but listen, he’s doing what’s best for him and his family. He thinks it’s the right way to go, and it’s his decision. I wish him nothing but the best and I hope it works out.”
Miocic, now 40 years old, wanted a rubber match with Ngannou above all other fights in his career. The series between the two is currently tied at one win each, with Miocic winning their first meeting and Ngannou the second. With Ngannou gone, Miocic is now hoping for a fight with the winner of UFC 285’s main event between Ciryl Gane and Jon Jones for the heavyweight belt, but acknowledges that a third match with Ngannou would have been more special.
“[Ngannou] is gone,” Miocic said. “So whoever has that belt is the champ.”
“Francis is gone, so whoever has that belt is the champion,” said Miocic. Ngannou has expressed a desire to box now that he is a free agent, with heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury even calling for a match in a cage with boxing rules. Miocic, a former Cleveland Golden Gloves boxing champion, is open to the idea of a rubber match with Ngannou in a boxing ring rather than an MMA cage, stating, “That’d be fantastic. Hell yeah, I love boxing.”