The biggest heavyweight fight potentially of all-time is a couple of weeks away and it is curiously absent of trash talk. Although, when you’re two guys like Francis Ngannou and Stipe Miocic, the need to say threatening things has never really been something that comes up a lot. Both men are equally humble as they are frightening. Both men have made it a habit of dispatching other scary dudes. Which is why Miocic shrugs at the notion of Ngannou’s horror story mythos being built around him and his record-breaking punching power. To Stipe Miocic, Ngannou is just one more guy like he’s fought over and over.
“[Franics Ngannou]’s tough, he’s big, strong, hits hard but he’s just another dude. That’s what it is. You’re telling me Mark Hunt doesn’t hit that hard? Or Roy Nelson? Or Junior dos Santos? Come on. 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.”
“Why would I be intimidated by another man?” @StipeMiocicUFC
— UFC (@ufc) December 29, 2017
“I was there [at the UFC 220 press conference] so I don’t get fined. Let him do what he wants. He’s doing well. He’s doing something right, he’s fighting for the title. But like I said, as long as I’m here, nobody else is getting that belt. I worked way too hard to give it up. I sacrificed way too much to give it up. Unfortunately, as long as I’m here, no one’s getting that belt.” — Stipe Miocic speaking to FloCombat.
Stipe Miocic is out here pulling Marshawn Lynch-style no-sells at press conferences. He’s just nodding anytime Francis Ngannou says some sort of definitive statement about his fear. Most of the time, you won’t some verbal heat or tension going on between fighters, but this sort of badass nonchalance works just fine. A win over his ‘biggest test yet’ Francis Ngannou will only increase the rep of his stone cold, easy-going image as a killer. If he loses though? The critical public will blame that he took Ngannou lightly. Yeah, maybe. …Or that guy just hits like a Mack truck.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/5/2018.