Stipe Miocic to meet with UFC next month regarding his return

MMA, Stipe Miocic

The greatest heavyweight in the history of the UFC is getting ready to ramp up the comeback conversations. Stipe Miocic (20-4) has been motivated to get back in the cage ever since he lost the heavyweight title back in March.

Miocic defended his title against Francis Ngannou (16-3) at UFC 260. This was a rematch from a couple of years ago. In the first fight, Miocic completely dominated and overwhelmed Ngannou in a lopsided decision.

The second fight was completely different. Ngannou was calculated and remained calmed throughout on his way to knocking Miocic out in the second round to become the UFC heavyweight champion.

After the loss, Miocic has stated that he wants the trilogy with Ngannou to regain his heavyweight title. However, the UFC had no plans for that right away. Miocic needed time to recover and with a baby on the way, he decided to sit back for a while.

In the mean time, there has been a ton of activity in the heavyweight division. Despite the title being on the line just a few months ago, the UFC created an interim title that Derrick Lewis (25-8, 1 NC) and Ciryl Gane (10-0) just fought for at UFC 265.

Miocic to meet with the UFC

Gane stopped Lewis in the third round to become the interim UFC heavyweight champion. With the interim title around his waste, Gane will be taking on the undisputed champion, Francis Ngannou, likely at the end of the year or in early 2022.

So where does that leave the greatest heavyweight in UFC history? Well, Miocic is in a bit of a waiting pattern. He told ESPN this week that his wife is due with their son in the next couple of weeks. After the baby is born, Miocic is flying to Las Vegas to meet with Dana White regarding what’s next.

Miocic did mention that he was a little annoyed he didn’t get a call for the interim title fight. That was never in the UFC’s plans. White has publicly mentioned a fight with Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) as an option for Miocic. Miocic told ESPN he would be down for that fight, but Jones has been less interested in this matchup in the past.

I have to say, with Ngannou – Gane happening, I would love for the UFC to book Miocic against Jones. The greatest of all time versus the greatest heavyweight has a nice ring to it. Not too mention the fact that it would provide a clear number one contender for the winner of Ngannou – Gane.

After UFC 265 performance, will Ciryl Gane be the favorite against Francis Ngannou?

Ciryl Gane UFC

Last weekend at UFC 265, we saw a new interim heavyweight champion crowned. Ciryl Gane (10-0) took on Derrick Lewis (25-8, 1 NC) in front of Houston, Texas which is the hometown of The Black Beast.

Gane looked incredibly composed and confident as he walked out to “Still Tippin” by Houston rapper Mike Jones. The crowd erupted in boos as Gane made his way to the octagon with a big smile on his face.

It was almost like Gane had a secret heading into UFC 265. From the opening moments of the fight, it was very apparent how the fight was going to go. Gane used his sleek movement and speed to fluster Lewis.

Lewis could never get close enough to land a signature power shot on Saturday night. Gane completely dominated all aspects of the fight and in the third round, he really turned things on. The Frenchman unleashed a vicious combination that put Lewis down and crowned Gane the interim UFC champion.

Favored Over the UFC Undisputed Champion?

Being crowned interim UFC champion is basically having a belt and being the number one contender. Now that Gane has the interim title, he’s earned himself a matchup with the undisputed champion, Francis Ngannou (16-3).

Ngannou has been a freight train on his way to capturing the UFC heavyweight title. He became the undisputed champion back in March when he knocked out the great Stipe Miocic in the second round.

That win was the fifth straight knockout win for Ngannou. With a champion like that, you would think he would be the favorite against any man that he steps in the octagon with. I mean Ngannou was even the big favorite over Jon Jones when that potential fight was being discussed.

However, after UFC 265, the betting lines are dead even. If you ask most people in the MMA community, many are saying that Gane should be the favorite when he takes on his former teammate Francis Ngannou.

The argument is that the style and distance control of Gane is the perfect style to defeat the UFC champion. I can see the point, but I still believe that the betting favorite heading into title unification bout should be the undisputed champion. However, the odds in either direction should be incredibly close.

How does Francis Ngannou fare against Ciryl Gane after UFC 265?

Francis Ngannou

This past Saturday at UFC 265, the interim heavyweight title was on the line. The undefeated Ciryl Gane (10-0) was taking on heavyweight knockout artist Derrick Lewis (25-8, 1 NC) in Lewis’ hometown of Houston, Texas.

An extremely interested observer on Saturday night was the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou (16-3). Ngannou just won the title back in March when he knocked out Stipe Miocic.

After the win, he took some time to visit Africa and didn’t arrive back in the US to start training until June. The UFC wanted Ngannou to turn right around and face Lewis in Houston to headline UFC 265.

Ngannou said he would fight in September, but turned down the August fight because he would only have six weeks to train. As a result, the UFC made an interim title and put Ciryl Gane in there with Derrick Lewis.

Gane is a former teammate of Francis Ngannou. The Frenchman completely dominated Lewis on Saturday night to become the interim UFC champion. Ngannou had a simple message for Gane after the fight, “See you soon boy

How does the UFC champ fare against the interim champ?

Ciryl Gane is a nightmare for most heavyweights in the UFC. Gane has a complete skillset and brings a level of athleticism that’s very rare for the heavyweight division. He’s incredibly long and he’s light on his feet like someone in the middleweight division.

The UFC commentators talked about the fact that he will be a problem for Francis Ngannou. That said, I believe that Francis Ngannou is the only guy who can bring all this Ciryl Gane talk to a screeching halt.

While Derrick Lewis holds a win over Francis Ngannou, the two are not on the same level. Ngannou is very fast, extremely strong, and he’s very long. In fact, his reach is a couple of inches longer than Ciryl Gane’s.

The champion has the ability to close the distance fast enough and he’s long enough to land the power shots that Lewis simply couldn’t. Nobody should take the UFC 265 fight between Lewis and Gane and apply it to breaking down the fight with Ngannou.

Ciryl Gane just might have the perfect style to stifle the champion. However, if there’s anyone in the division who can catch Gane and put him to sleep, it’s Francis Ngannou. Going into their fight, I believe that Ngannou should still be the favorite, and I personally would still bet on the UFC heavyweight champ.

UFC 265 Preview: Derrick Lewis – Ciryl Gane

Tomorrow night in the headliner of UFC 265 we will see two top heavyweights battle it out for the interim heavyweight title. The hometown favorite Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) takes on Ciryl Gane (9-0) in Houston.

The Black Beast enters tomorrow as the second ranked heavyweight in the UFC. He’s on a four-fight win streak, but his last performance really put him over the top. Back in February, he knocked Curtis Blaydes out cold to earn this shot.

Standing across from Lewis is Ciryl Gane. Gane has a perfect record and he’s been dominant since joining the UFC. Gane made his debut with the promotion back in 2019 and he’s gone 6-0.

This year alone, Gane has had two headlining fights against Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov. In both of those fights, Gane used his footwork and incredible striking technique to pickup two lopsided decision wins.

Obviously tomorrow night is not for the undisputed heavyweight title. The UFC‘s heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou (16-3), is waiting in the wings for the winner of the UFC 265 headliner.

UFC 265 Prediction

When you look at the skillset of both men, the UFC 265 headliner looks like it would be easy to predict. When going skill for skill, Ciryl Gane is a much better fighter than Derrick Lewis.

You’re looking at someone in Gane who has incredible footwork, tremendous striking technique, solid skills on the ground, and cardio that lasts five rounds. Simply put, he’s the full package at heavyweight.

That said, Derrick Lewis possesses the great equalizer. Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou are the two hardest hitters in the UFC’s heavyweight division. You could argue that Lewis has the most power out of anyone in the division.

It takes one mistake with Lewis and you’re seeing stars. Curtis Blaydes was controlling their fight in February, but he got caught with an uppercut from hell in the second round and he was put out cold.

All it takes is for Ciryl Gane to make one mistake and he’s going out. However, I don’t think he’s going to make that mistake. I believe Gane is going to use a very smart game plan and I think he’ll be able to avoid the power. It might not be the most exciting at the end of the day, but I think Ciryl Gane walks away the interim UFC champion tomorrow night.

Prediction: Ciryl Gane by Unanimous Decision

Stipe Miocic annoyed by the UFC

MMA, Stipe Miocic

The greatest heavyweight in UFC history is not happy with the promotion. It would appear that Stipe Miocic (20-4) is once again at odds with the promotion and he expressed his frustrations yesterday on Instagram. MMA Fighting caught Miocic’s comments about the UFC title picture.

Miocic is being asked to wait for the heavyweight title picture to iron itself out. In a few weeks, Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane will be fighting for the interim UFC heavyweight title. The winner of that fight will be next in line to take on the undisputed champion Francis Ngannou (16-3).

Miocic last the heavyweight title to Ngannou back at UFC 260 when he was knocked out by Ngannou in the second round. That fight was a rematch from their first fight a few years ago where Miocic completely dominated a very green Francis Ngannou.

The second fight was completely dominated by Ngannou. However, with the series being 1-1, Miocic is wanting to run it back to get his title back. He’s talked about bulking up and he even talked about returning to fight for the UFC title by the end of the year. However, he’s express frustrations with the way things look.

Not wanting to wait on the UFC

In a response to an Instagram comment, the former UFC champion said, “I shouldn’t have to wait for a winner. I have the most heavyweight title defenses of all time. We’re 1-1 but DC (Daniel Cormier) got instant rematches and trilogies against me?”

Miocic has a legit argument against the UFC. He holds the most title defenses in the history of the division and even Dana White would tell you that Miocic is the greatest heavyweight champion in the history of the promotion. However, things have not always been smooth between Miocic and the UFC.

After Miocic lost to Daniel Cormier in their first fight, it took over a year for him to get the rematch. That was because the UFC was trying to book a heavyweight title fight between Cormier and Brock Lesnar. After that fight fell through, Miocic got his rematch.

Now, Miocic has lost his title for the second time and instead of getting an immediate rematch, he’s being asked to wait again. Miocic even contemplated a move to ONE with everything that’s going on. I’m sure this situation between Miocic and the UFC will right itself, but you have to feel for the former champion.

Could Gane – Lewis at UFC 265 ultimately lead to Jon Jones – Francis Ngannou?

UFC, Jon Jones

Earlier this week we learned that UFC 265 would be headlined by Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Ciryl Gane (9-0). The PPV headliner will take place in Lewis’ hometown of Houston, Texas and the interim heavyweight title will be on the line.

The decision to create an interim heavyweight title at UFC 265 was perplexing. Mass confusion fell upon the MMA community due to the fact that Francis Ngannou (16-3) just won the heavyweight title back in March.

Ngannou has been on vacation and told the UFC he’d be ready to fight Derrick Lewis for the undisputed title in September. However, the promotion needed a main event for August 7th. Their solution was to book Lewis in an interim title fight.

Now, this leaves the undisputed heavyweight champion without a fight. The UFC has said that Gane and Lewis are fighting for the interim title because they are the two most deserving contenders and they are ready to fight on August 7th. Again, doesn’t make a ton of sense, but that’s their story.

However, there could be a silver lining here for all parties involved. Perhaps the UFC can now put together the fight that fans wanted to see all along. Maybe it’s time for the promotion to revisit the superfight between Ngannou and Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC).

Will the UFC try to make Ngannou – Jones happen?

Let’s rewind time back to just before UFC 260 where Ngannou defeated Stipe Miocic. The storyline leading up to the fight was that Jon Jones would be moving up to heavyweight and would be fighting the winner.

For months, that’s what Dana White and the UFC had been saying. Jon Jones vacated his light heavyweight title last year to prepare for his move to the heavyweight division.

However, immediately after UFC 260 we learned the fight was going to be hard to make. Jones and the promotion could never come close to a deal and as a result, the UFC moved on from Jones and focused on Derrick Lewis.

Now, we find ourselves in an interesting position. Jones recently hired Richard Schaeffer as his new representative. Schaeffer has a great relationship with UFC President Dana White and has already said publicly that he’s confident the Jones – Ngannou fight will get done.

Heavyweight Tournament?

With this interim title fight on the books for UFC 265, I think it’s time to go back to the negotiation table. There has never been a better time to book Jones against Ngannou. With the interim title fight booked, you get to give the top contenders the crack at gold that they rightfully deserve.

At the same time, if you book Ngannou – Jones, you’re also giving UFC fans the fight they want to see. A four-man tournament could be playing out for the biggest prize in all of combat sports. Of course, at this point it’s all talk, but even Ngannou’s coach talked about this potential silver lining. 

There’s also the outside chance that a four-man tournament plays out without Jones. Stipe Miocic (20-4) is bulking up and wants the trilogy with Ngannou. Perhaps the UFC moves in that direction if a fight with Jones still can’t be made.

This is definitely going to be a storyline to watch over the coming weeks.

Sound Off: Should the UFC book Ngannou against Jones/Miocic or wait for the Gane-Lewis winner?

Ciryl Gane knew about interim title fight before UFC Vegas 30

Ciryl Gane UFC

We are just days removed from learning that UFC 265 will be headlined by an interim title fight between Ciryl Gane (9-0) and Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC). The PPV is being held in Houston which is the home of The Black Beast.

The news took everyone by surprised. For the last couple of months, the UFC had been working on Lewis fighting Francis Ngannou (16-3). Ngannou is the undisputed heavyweight champion who just won the title in late March.

However, Ngannou went home to Africa to celebrate his title victory. He just returned to the United States and voiced to the UFC that he wouldn’t be ready for August 7th. Ngannou and his management did accept a fight against Lewis for the undisputed title in September.

However, that didn’t fit the timeline for the UFC. The promotion wanted Lewis to headline the August card in his hometown. UFC 265 has another title fight in Amanda Nunes – Julianna Pena, but the promotion didn’t want that as the headliner.

While Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time, she’s not a massive draw as her headlining PPVs show. With that, the UFC took an aggressive approach to finding a big time matchup to fill the main event slot. That big time matchup is the interim heavyweight title fight.

Gane knew before UFC Vegas 30

We now know that the wheels were in motion for UFC 265 before the fights last weekend. At UFC Vegas 30, Ciryl Gane defeated Alexander Volkov in the main event. It was a beautiful performance by Gane who took virtually no damage in the fight.

Gane spoke with MMA Junkie this week and said that the promotion approached his management before his fight last weekend. The UFC told the Gane camp that Gane would get a shot at Derrick Lewis for the interim title if he were to win and come out clean.

Once Gane got his hand raised on Saturday night and was cleared to compete, the UFC moved forward with the booking. I still don’t agree with the decision to create an interim title especially considering Ngannou just won the belt and would be ready a month later.

The decision makes absolutely no sense from a combat sports perspective, but it wasn’t a combat sports decision. This was strictly a business decision because the UFC needed a bigger fight to headline their August PPV in Houston.

Sound Off: Do you agree with the UFC’s decision to book an interim title fight in August?

What happened between the UFC and Francis Ngannou?

Francis Ngannou

Yesterday we all saw some shocking news in the world of mixed martial arts. We learned that UFC 265 in August will be headlined by an interim title fight between top contenders Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Ciryl Gane (9-0).

The two men will battle it out in Houston on August 7th. However, this move was incredibly puzzling to say the least. It’s puzzling due to the fact that Francis Ngannou (16-3) just became the undisputed heavyweight champion at the end of March.

After Ngannou became the champion, he spent a considerable amount of time in Africa to celebrate. Ngannou recently returned to the United States and resumed training in preparation for his first title defense.

For the last month or so, the UFC has been trying hard to book Ngannou against Derrick Lewis for the August PPV. However, with Ngannou’s travel schedule, he told the UFC that he wouldn’t be ready by the beginning of August.

The promotion then came back to Ngannou and asked about UFC 266 in September. Ngannou and his representatives accepted the fight for the end of September and moved forward with their preparations. However, everything changed yesterday.

UFC’s Change of Plans

The UFC had been moving forward with the September fight, but Ciryl Gane’s performance over the weekend made them hedge. After seeing Gane remain perfect by defeating Alexander Volkov, the promotion tried to use it for leverage to get Ngannou to fight in August.

Ngannou’s camp remained firm in their stance that he would defend the title in September, but not at the beginning of August. The UFC ultimately decided to pull the plug on Ngannou all together and booked the interim title fight.

In the history of the promotion, this is the quickest that they’ve ever instituted an interim title. It’s also incredibly interesting that it was made in the heavyweight division considering the title has been defended on average once a year over the past few years.

So now, the UFC’s superstar heavyweight champion is sidelined. This move makes no sense and to me the promotion just cut their nose off to spite their face.

BREAKING: UFC books interim heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane

Massive breaking news this afternoon involving the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that the promotion is moving forward with an interim heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Ciryl Gane (9-0).

The fight will headline UFC 265 on August 7th which will take place in Houston, Texas. This is a massive shot as Francis Ngannou (16-3) just became the undisputed heavyweight champion a few months ago.

The promotion had been trying to book Ngannou against Derrick Lewis for August, but Ngannou wasn’t ready. The latest word was that the UFC was going to book the heavyweight title fight for September, but everything changed on a dime.

Over the weekend at UFC Vegas 30, Ciryl Gane dominated Alexander Volkov to remain undefeated. After witnessing his performance, the UFC decided to move Gane up the ladder for an interim title fight against Lewis.

The manager for the UFC heavyweight champion was completely stunned by the news. Ngannou’s reps told Okamoto, “This comes as a complete shock. To make an interim title so soon, if you look at the history of this division, it comes as a surprise. We hope to get clarity and figure out something with the UFC soon.”

UFC’s odd decision

I honestly don’t understand the UFC’s logic here at all. By all accounts, Ngannou was going to be ready to defend his title in September. Over the last few years, the heavyweight title has been defended on average once per year.

Ngannou just won the title at the end of March. To make an interim title so soon is absolutely insane to me. Nevertheless, the UFC is moving forward and Ciryl Gane will battle Derrick Lewis in his backyard for the heavyweight title.

With this news, we likely won’t see Francis Ngannou against until the end of the year. Well, maybe the UFC will finally book Ngannou against Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) for the undisputed title then have the winners face off. Who knows, but I don’t think anyone saw this coming.

Houston the front-runner to host UFC 265 per Dana White

It looks like the UFC will be heading back to Texas in August. At least, that’s how it’s looking right now. This week, Dana White sat down with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole and they talked about all the happenings with the promotion.

Of course, one of the topics that came up was the UFC heavyweight division. Currently, the promotion is trying to finalize the first title defense for the new heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou (16-3).

Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic (20-4) at UFC 260 to capture the heavyweight title. Prior to that night, it was understood that the winner would fight Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is a super-fight over the summer.

However, financial negotiations never got off to a hot start between Jones and the UFC. Now, it doesn’t appear that Jones is going to be fighting anytime soon. With that, the promotion moved to the top contender, Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC).

Lewis is one of the more popular fighters in the UFC and he holds a decision win over the current champion. He’s won four fights in a row and he definitely deserves the next crack at the heavyweight title. Because Lewis is next, the promotion is honing in on Houston, Texas hosting UFC 265.

UFC 265 – Home Field Advantage

Now, the UFC hasn’t finalized the rematch between Ngannou and Lewis. However, the word is that the fight is getting pretty close to the goal line. The promotion is planning on the heavyweight title fight headlining UFC 265.

Currently, Amanda Nunes (21-4) – Julianna Pena (10-4) is the lone title fight on the August PPV. However, it appears that the promotion is going to have the heavyweight title on the line in the main event.

Derrick Lewis is a native of Houston and he got a massive pop when shown on screen at UFC 262 earlier this month. It looks like Lewis is going to get a little home field advantage for his second crack at UFC gold.

Of course, this situation is still fluid at the moment. For one, the promotion hasn’t finalized the fight and two, UFC 265 hasn’t been announced for Houston. However, the promotion is looking to lock up the location soon and my guess is the fight will be finalized just before.