BOSTON — UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, by his own admission, is better at playing the media game than he used to be.
But several years into this, and at the height of his fame, he still can’t force himself to get into the trash-talk business.
At Wednesday’s UFC 220 media day, Miocic compared the endless focus on drama in MMA to one of the most notorious talk shows in the history of television.
“It’s like The Jerry Springer Show, man,” Miocic said. ”You know, it’s all about the soap opera.”
Miocic, who still works his day job as a part-time firefighter in Ohio, said that when he first started making a name as a mixed martial artist, he hated doing interviews. But as his career progressed and he worked his way toward the top, Miocic realized the hype that goes into fight week helps make the fans more interested in his career.
“I hated it [at first],” Miocic said. “I’m more comfortable [now] in this kind of environment. It’s like anything that’s repetitive, the more you do it, the better you get. I don’t know, it’s fun. If it wasn’t for the fans, I wouldn’t be here right now, so I just come out here and have a conversation.”
Perhaps that’s why Miocic, who would have a UFC record third successful title defense with a victory over Ngannou on Saturday night at TD Garden, appears confident and calm just days before the fight.
“I’m always loose on fight week,” Miocic said. “I don’t know, man, listen, this is a sport, I just want to do my job. If i didn’t love this, I wouldn’t be doing it. If I stop loving this, I’ll be out.”
So if Miocic has gotten this far — right to the precipice of history — without having to engage in Springer-like antics, don’t expect him to start now.
“I’m going to go out there and do my job,” Miocic said. “He’s a big tough guy who’s strong, hits hard. So do I.”