Monday, December 5, 2022

Helwani: Stipe Miocic’s Fighting Career May Be Over

MMA reporter Ariel Helwani believes that the legendary career of heavyweight great Stipe Miocic may have reached its conclusion.

It’s been well over a year since Miocic, who’s widely regarded as MMA’s heavyweight GOAT, appeared inside the Octagon. His most recent outing came last March at UFC 260, where he ran it back with Cameroonian powerhouse Francis Ngannou in the pay-per-view headliner.

While he’d previously defended the gold against “The Predator” in 2018, he failed to repeat the feat inside Las Vegas’ Apex, falling to a brutal second-round knockout loss and losing his place on the heavyweight throne in the process.

Since that devastating result, which came seven months after he defended the belt in a trilogy fight against Daniel Cormier, Miocic has been absent from the cage. And aside from expressing his dismay at not being granted an immediate chance at redemption against Ngannou, the Ohio native has remained largely silent.

That, as well as more recent developments, has led one renowned journalist to suggest that the writing may be on the wall for the former two-time heavyweight king’s career.

Helwani: ‘We May Have Seen Miocic For The Last Time’

During the Q&A portion of the latest episode of The MMA Hour, host Helwani was asked about the current status of Miocic and Jon Jones‘ evident desire to face him.

Earlier this year, Jones named the 40-year-old as the preferred opponent for his heavyweight debut. Once a seemingly planned July date wasn’t possible, “Bones” shifted his attention to September. And when that didn’t come to fruition, talk picked up about a possible main event clash at December’s UFC 282 event.

But with that now appearing off the table following comments from Dana White, in which he named 2023 as a possible comeback date for Jones, it appears that attention has shifted towards a showdown with the reigning titleholder.

With that, Helwani thinks Miocic may have lost out on his one and only motivation to return, thus signaling the end of his Octagon tenure.

“Now that the fight isn’t happening (Jones vs. Miocic) for December… I think they’re gonna turn their attention to March (and) Ngannou,” Helwani said. “And I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this marks the end of Stipe’s career. Stipe’s going to go off into the night very quietly. Stipe was never going to make a big hullabaloo… Stipe, pretty quiet guy, pretty private guy, is a firefighter; he was never gonna make a big deal about the end of his fighting career.

“I think once they didn’t really come correct with an offer, and that’s really what happened… I think now they’re gonna make the fight against Ngannou in March, and if they do that, who’s Stipe gonna fight? Is he gonna be motivated to fight for way less than he was making as champion to fight Ciryl Gane or Curtis Blaydes? I can’t see it happening,” Helwani added. “Wouldn’t shock me if we never see him again.”

Last month, Helwani outlined what he’d heard regarding the UFC’s plans. His report stated that while talks were ongoing surrounding a UFC 282 appearance, sights would be set on booking Jones against Ngannou instead should nothing come to fruition for December.

With Jiří Procházka’s defense against Glover Teixeira now confirmed as the Las Vegas headliner, as well as comments from Ngannou’s coach at Xtreme Couture, it appears that the promotion is moving towards plan B — by all accounts, that doesn’t involve Miocic.

Do you agree with Ariel Helwani’s take on Stipe Miocic’s current status?

Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.

Related