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Stipe Miocic aiming for return in December or January, would have fought Jon Jones

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UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic believes he will return to action in either December or January, but he still doesn’t know who he will be pitted against when he looks to defend his title for the third time.

Back in July, MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani reported that Miocic would be sitting out until his contract was amended.

On the latest episode of The MMA Hour, Miocic revealed that the lines of communication had been opened with the promotion with a view to seeing him back in the Octagon before the end of the year or in early 2018.

“We’re talking,” Miocic replied when asked about his current status with the UFC. “I’m probably looking at December or the end of January.

“Definitely, it’s all good,” he continued. “I’ve got a great management team and they’re doing everything they’re supposed to. We’re talking, it’s all good.”

Miocic dismissed the notion that there is no outright challenger to his title at the moment, underlining the size of the category’s competitors as a reason why every opponent needs to be taken seriously.

“There are a lot of guys that are there already. In the heavyweight division anything can happen on any night, you know? That’s what’s scary about the division: no matter how good you are there is always somebody that can beat you.

“We haven’t talked about who the opponent is yet, but they’re thinking December or January so we’ll see.”

Francis Ngannou recently tried to align himself with a title shot after his UFC 215 bout with Junior Dos Santos fell through due to the Brazilian being flagged for a USADA violation.

Miocic said he would welcome a contest with “The Predator”. He also said he would be open to fights with Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov.

“I don’t know I’m not the UFC. If I was a matchmaker I wouldn’t be fighting, but (Ngannou) is a very tough guy,” he said of the 10-1 heavyweight.

“He’s been running through people and he’s getting better in every fight. He’s definitely a great up and comer and he’s got a great future ahead of him.

“Listen, whoever the UFC wants me to fight, I’ll fight – Overeem, or whoever’s next…Volkov…he’s a tough guy too, but I have a hard time saying his name for whatever reason. You know, or Cain, whoever they say I’m not going to back down.”

The champion highlighted why a fight with former titleholder Cain Velasquez appeals to him.

“It would have been great to fight him because it would have been an amazing fight between us too,” explained Miocic.

“We’re both wrestlers, we both push the pace, we’ve got great cardio and we like to stand and bang – it would have been an exciting fight. Unfortunately, he’s hurt right now. I hope he gets better because he’s a super nice guy.”

The Cleveland native also claimed that he had no idea that UFC were considering matching him with Jon Jones, which was revealed by Dana White shortly after the controversial light-heavyweight’s latest USADA violation was announced.

Miocic said he would have fought Jones if the UFC had put the fight together.

“I had no idea they were talking about it. Listen I’m usually last to know, which is fine. If they would’ve had me fight Jon Jones, I would have fought him. I don’t care but they never brought it to my attention.

He added: “I had no idea I’m not joking.”