Stipe Miocic is a seasoned star in the realm of UFC, who found himself facing an unexpected turn of events at UFC 295. After a brutal knockout defeat and an extended period of inactivity, Miocic was given the opportunity to challenge Jon Jones for the heavyweight belt. It was not just any title match, but the main event of the penultimate UFC pay-per-view for the year.
However, fate had other plans. During training, Jon Jones suffered a significant pectoral tear which compelled him to withdraw from the bout.
UFC CEO Dana White swiftly arranged an interim heavyweight title bout. He pitted UFC 295’s main event backup competitor Sergei Pavlovich against formidable contender Tom Aspinall.
In a recent press conference held by Power Slap, Dana White fielded questions about the decision to bring Tom Aspinall into the spotlight instead of arranging an interim title clash between Stipe Miocic and Sergei Pavlovich.
White replied: “You have the greatest heavyweight of all time versus the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. This is a legacy fight for both of those guys. I mean, to even call Stipe and ask Stipe to fight for an interim title is, you know, complete disrespect.”
White talked about his belief that an interim title bout would not do justice to Stipe Miocic’s remarkable career. He went on to assert that fans remain deeply invested in witnessing a showdown between Jones and Miocic, despite the initial backlash from the MMA community.
White’s words echo the sentiments shared by ESPN correspondent Marc Raimondi, who recently suggested on X that the UFC envisions rescheduling the Jones-Miocic matchup in 2024. This raises doubts about the viability of the interim championship match scheduled for UFC 295 if the winner chooses not to face Jones.
Miocic’s most recent octagon appearance happened at UFC 260, where he encountered Francis Ngannou. Unfortunately, this encounter culminated in a harsh knockout defeat for Miocic. Prior to this encounter, the former heavyweight champion defeated Daniel Cormier in a trilogy match.