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Stipe Miocic says UFC called him about Daniel Cormier bout two days before Francis Ngannou fight

LOS ANGELES — Stipe Miocic didn’t want to fight Daniel Cormier at first. Actually, the first time the UFC broached the topic with him, he says he all but hung up the phone.

The UFC heavyweight champion said Monday at a media lunch that a promotion official called him two days before — yes, before — his fight with Francis Ngannou at UFC 220 in January to ask him about fighting Cormier and coaching The Ultimate Fighter against him.

“I told them, ‘shut up,’” Miocic said. “I got more things to worry about.”

Obviously, the fight did come together and so did TUF 27. Miocic defends his title against Cormier, the light heavyweight champ, in the main event of UFC 226 on Saturday in Las Vegas. But even now, almost six months later, Miocic is a bit incredulous that the UFC called him before the fight with Ngannou, who had been hyped as the hardest puncher in MMA history, about a potential next title defense.

“It had nothing to do with Cormier,” Miocic said. “Dude, leave me alone — I’m fighting in two days. You’re talking about how I’m gonna get hit by the Ford Escort power and you’re gonna come at me with this?”

After dominating Ngannou at UFC 220, Miocic said he got another call from the UFC the Monday after the fight and he ignored it. Miocic was able to connect with the promotion a day later, but didn’t really want to coach TUF against Cormier, because his wife, Ryan, is pregnant with their first child.

“No, I didn’t want to do it,” Miocic said. “My wife is pregnant, I want to make sure it’s OK with her. She’s the boss. She’s carrying our child. I’m not carrying a child. She’s put a lot into it. I just wanted to make sure it was good with her, make sure it was OK for me to leave. Make sure it was right.”

Miocic, 35, said he spoke with Ryan — and with Cormier — and came to the decision to coach on The Ultimate Fighter and defend the belt in July. Miocic said the baby (a daughter) is due right after UFC 226. He said they’re “praying” that Ryan doesn’t go into labor while he’s in Las Vegas for fight week, but asked reporters “don’t jinx it.”

“I’m not gonna worry about it,” Miocic said. “My wife is a tough cookie. She’s the captain, as they say. She leads the ship. It’s gonna be hard for me. It’s gonna take a while for me to get over it, not being there. I’m doing it for my family, though. It’s not just I’m fighting. It’s also making sure things are taken care of.”

Miocic (18-2) has plenty of things to occupy him this week, not the least of which is his battle with Cormier in a true superfight — perhaps a bout between the two best active fighters in the world. Suffice to say, the UFC probably won’t be calling him to pitch another bout two days ahead of UFC 226.

“Yeah, bye,” Miocic said he told them in January. “I’m good. … I’m not gonna worry about that. I’ve got other things to worry about.”

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