A highly anticipated bout between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic was rumored to be in the works for UFC 282 on December 10th. Unfortunately, the fight never came together and now UFC 282 is being headlined by a light heavyweight title rematch between Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira.
So what happened to Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic? According to Ariel Helwani on the latest episode of The MMA Hour, the UFC didn’t put much effort into signing Stipe Miocic.
“I think once they didn’t really come correct with an offer – and that’s really what happened here,” Helwani said. “It was like a ‘Hey, you wanna fight him, here’s the amount, take it or leave it.’ And [Stipe Miocic] was like ‘Uuuuh,’ and then they just moved on.”
“So now I think they’re gonna try to make the fight against Ngannou in March, and if they do that, who is Stipe going to fight? Is he going to be motivated to fight for way less money to fight a Ciryl Gane or Curtis Blaydes? I can’t see it happening. So wouldn’t shock me if we never see him again. Could he come back? Sure. Next week, great! But wouldn’t shock me if we never see him again.”
“I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this marks the end of Stipe’s career,” Helwani stated. “Stipe is going to go off into the night very quietly. Stipe was never going to make a big hullabaloo. Maybe it’s a [social media] post or something like that. He’s a pretty quiet guy, private guy, likes his life as a fire fighter. He was not going to make a big deal of the end of his fighting career.”
The big question now is whether Francis Ngannou will return to the UFC in 2023 once his knee heals and he’s a free agent. Ngannou has made it clear that he isn’t signing a new UFC contract unless it allows him to box. Could the UFC be willing to allow this in order to secure a big money Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou superfight? The promotion certainly seems to believe there’s a chance they can make that happen.
In the meantime, it feels like they’re just leaving Stipe Miocic in their back pocket. Jones vs. Ngannou is clearly the big money fight, while Jones vs. Miocic is more for the hardcore fans who recognize Miocic as one of the greatest UFC heavyweights of all time. It’s too bad he doesn’t get treated with the respect that deserves when it comes to interactions with the UFC itself. But it’s not exactly surprising, given the UFC’s track record of one-sided negotiation tactics.
What do you think, PENN Nation? Does that sound like the UFC wasn’t really all that interested in booking Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic? Or is that just how the promotion does business? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comments!