Stipe Miocic understands why Francis Ngannou is one of the game’s fastest rising stars, but the heavyweight champ is reminding folks his resume includes bouts with other, extremely dangerous opponents.
Ngannou has been booked for a bout with Miocic on January 20th, at UFC 220 in Boston. The punishing puncher has been tapped for the opportunity as a result of winning all six of his Octagon fights to date. Not only that, but Ngannou has stopped every man who has faced him in the UFC to date, and “The Predator” is coming off a vicious, KO win over Alistair Overeem last month.
Well, while discussing his upcoming, highly anticipated bout with Ngannou, Miocic recently had this to say about the feared striker (quotes via FloCombat):
“…He’s doing well. He’s doing something right, he’s fighting for the title.”
“You’re telling me Mark Hunt doesn’t hit that hard? Or Roy Nelson? Or Junior dos Santos? Come on,” Miocic said, while referring to some of the opponents he’s defeated. “He hits hard and definitely if you get hit square like that [it’s bad news], but I’m definitely going to keep my head up, keep my head on a swivel, and make sure I’m doing everything right.”
“He’s tough, he’s big, strong, hits hard but he’s just another dude. That’s what it is.”
There’s no doubt that Miocic has faced some ferocious punchers in the past, as he noted above. But, are those guys as explosive as Ngannou? That’s an interesting question. Maybe dos Santos? Who Miocic took out in the opening round of their rematch last year, following a decision loss to JDS in 2014.
What remains to be seen is whether Miocic turns to his wrestling game against Ngannou, and whether the latter can counter it. The most notable wrestler Ngannou has faced in the Octagon to date is Curtis Blaydes, but, he doesn’t have the boxing pedigree of Miocic, and the champ’s wrestling credentials are more extensive.
It’s going to be a fascinating night. UFC 220 will go down at Boston’s TD Garden Arena.