“If it happens, it happens,” said Miocic, who had a relatively easy night of work (watch the Miocic vs. Maldonado video highlights). “Right now, I’m happy with the [win] I got tonight. That’s all I was worried about, was tonight.
“I’m going to go back home and hang out with my family and see what the UFC wants me to do.”
Miocic made the most of an unfortunate situation. Currently ranked No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, had a real chance of improving his stock when he was booked against No. 2 Dos Santos, a former champion. However, when “JDS” was forced off the card – and with no other real heavyweight contenders available – the UFC booked light heavyweight Maldonado as a replacement for the Sao Paulo card.
It was an obvious mismatch, but the durable Maldonado offered to move up a weight class, and at the very, Miocic probably assumed his opponent could take a few rounds of punishment and give the Brazilian fans a show. So, was the Ohio-based fighter disappointed that he traveled 5,000 miles for 35 seconds of work?
“Oh God, no,” he told MMAjunkie after the event. “I’m happy. That’s fine. I get to hang out here in Sao Paulo tomorrow and leave tomorrow night, so I’m happy to get to see the city.”
Miocic struck early and appeared to wobble Maldonado almost immediately. However, he didn’t immediately pounce on his injured foe.
Miocic, though, said there was a reason for the initial hesitation.
“He’s a game fighter, and I didn’t know if he was playing possum,” he said. “It’s a five-round fight. I just wanted to make sure – you know, he likes to call guys into him against the cage. I just wanted to make sure. But once he caught that second right, I knew it was over.”
While a win is a win, Miocic clearly understood that a victory over a late-notice light heavyweight is hardly reason to make big demands. He was humble after his big win, which could’ve been one of the reasons he didn’t immediately campaign for a shot at Dos Santos.
In the meantime, he summed up his latest victory, which marked his eighth knockout in 12 career wins, with his usual directness.
“I just caught him with a good punch,” he said. “It was a good night for me.”