There is one matchup that has Mir, the former heavyweight champion, pumping the brakes on a bit, though.
“The only fight immediately that would make me nervous for Jon would be Stipe,” Mir told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.
Stipe Miocic is the UFC heavyweight champion and is coming off consecutive knockouts of Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos. With one more title defense, the Cleveland-area firefighter will set the record for the most in UFC heavyweight history. Somewhat quietly, Miocic has etched his name among some of the greats of the sport in his division.
“I think any other heavyweight I can see [Jones] beating,” Mir said. “Stipe is a hard one. And I think Alistair, too, might be a hard one.”
Size plays a big factor, Mir said. From a skills point of view, Jones stacks up and exceeds just about everyone. But Mir has concerns about Jones’ leg strength, in particular, in the heavyweight division.
“I think he’s a dangerous fighter and I would never, ever put him out,” Mir said of Jones. “His upper body is definitely in that world, that realm that he could compete at heavyweight, but it’s his lower body. Heavyweights are still big and pushing around and carrying that weight. I don’t know.”
Mir has trained with Jones, the nary undefeated UFC light heavyweight champion, before, so he has a perspective that few have. That also means he would never count “Bones” out.
“Could he do it?” Mir said. “Would I put it past Jon? No. Not at all. I’ve trained with him. I know how good he is. He’s not giving up reach and distance. It would just be that horsepower. Could he eliminate it through his technical wrestling and his angles? He very well may could.”
A big question is whether or not Jones will want to, especially against Miocic. Jones was asked about it at the UFC 214 press conference and he demurred, because Miocic has not shown himself to be a big draw. Brock Lesnar would be a real, big money fight — one of the biggest in UFC history. Miocic is not there yet in terms of a moneymaker.
“Stipe is a phenomenal champ as far as like he’s a good guy, if you want to point your kids in the right direction, ‘Hey, look at this guy, he’s a good person,’” Mir said. “Family guy, down to Earth, still works a regular job as a firefighter. He’s an asset to the community. But as far as a blockbuster [in] ticket sales, he’s no Conor McGregor. Stipe still, he doesn’t break into that realm of ticket sales and pay-per-view buys that some other heavyweights in the past have that are not as talented as he is. He has everything except for he’s just not that marketing machine that some other people have been.”
Mir has trained with Jones and fought Lesnar twice. That fight, which Jones called for after beating Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 last week, has Mir very intrigued. It would not be a walkover for Jones as many have theorized, Mir believes.
“I think it’s gonna be an interesting fight, because obviously Jones is a much better mixed martial artist, but the one area that we’ve never Jon fight at is off his back,” Mir said. “And I have to assume that Brock is good enough of a wrestler. Obviously in his heyday he was a national champion, but now the guy is 40 years old he doesn’t wrestle the way he did back 10 years ago. Can he put Jon on his back, and if he does, can he capitalize on it?
“So it’s interesting. So I think there is an interest to it. It’s not a blowout. There’s something on paper where I sit there and go, ‘Oh sh*t, Brock you have no chance.’ Well, he could put him on his back, possibly. Run a double on him. If anybody could, I’d have to think maybe Brock could. And then would put Jon in an area that we really haven’t seen Jon fight from.”
Miocic might be able to do the same thing. He also has devastating knockout power and excellent technical boxing. Mir is unsure of how Miocic vs. Jones would go down.
“Even Jon is not rushing to fight Stipe,” Mir said. “You could hear when Jon called out Brock, stylistically that fight makes sense for Jon if he moves up to heavyweight. But when you say ‘fight Stipe,’ he’s like, ‘ehh.’ There’s a reason why. [Miocic is] a really good big guy.”