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Stipe Miocic: After dominant showing against Mark Hunt, ‘I want a shot at the title’

Wagner Carmo, Inovafoto/UFC

After scoring the most impressive win of his career against Mark Hunt last week in South Australia, Stipe Miocic made his bid to challenge for the heavyweight title. Of course, whether the UFC grants him that shot remains to be seen.

And with fellow contenders Travis Browne fighting the resurgent Andrei Arlovski on May 23 at UFC 187, Miocic could end up on the outside looking in. It’s still a little bit up in the air as to who will face the winner of UFC 188’s unifying title bout between interim champion Fabricio Werdum and actual champ Cain Velasquez.

Yet during an appearance on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, the former Cleveland State wrestler Miocic said it’s not really that debatable. When asked directly if he thought he should be the No. 1 contender after the sustained beating he put on Hunt, Miocic didn’t beat around the bush.

"Yes I am, yeah," he said. "I feel that I am and I feel that I deserve it."

Miocic said that his camp has been in contact with the UFC to discuss the title shot, but that that everything is very preliminary right now.

"My manager’s talked a little bit, nothing much more than that," he told Ariel Helwani. "So we’ll see what happens. I just beat the fifth-ranked guy decisively. I feel like I deserve it. I showed that I belong. I showed that, especially in that fight before even though I lost against the former champ [Junior] dos Santos. I’ve been through a five-round fight twice. So I want a shot at the title."

The 32-year-old Miocic is 7-2 in the UFC (13-2 overall), and is coming off the TKO of Hunt in Adelaide. Before that, though, he and former heavyweight champion dos Santos went toe-to-toe for five rounds at UFC on FOX 13 in Phoenix. Though he ended up on the wrong end of a unanimous decision, Miocic thinks he showed enough of his mettle to stay in the top contender’s spot.

Before the dos Santos decision, Miocic defeated Fabio Maldonado, Gabriel Gonzaga and Roy Nelson respectively. Yet it was his work against Hunt over the course nearly 23 minutes that everybody has on their minds.

The fight was nearly called on a couple of occasions, with Miocic even pleading with referee John Sharp at one point as he rained down blows on "The Super Samoan." That the fight went an additional two rounds was a topic of debate in the aftermath.

Asked if he was wondering what he had to do to get the referee to stop the fight, Miocic instead complimented Hunt’s granite chin.

"Yeah, I mean, I was doing whatever I could, but it’s the fight game so I just had to keep going until I get that W no matter what," he said. "Mark’s as tough as they come, man. He’s got a great chin. The guy can take it better than anyone. He’s a tough guy.

"I thought I had it in the third."

Miocic said that he had no problem with Hunt’s corner not stopping the fight.

"I wouldn’t want my corner throwing in the towel no matter what," he said. "I wouldn’t want my corner to do that.

"There’s always that puncher’s chance, too."

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