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Stipe Miocic defiant in the face of overwhelming odds against Jon Jones: ‘I hit a lot harder than people think’

UFC 260: Miocic v Ngannou 2 Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Stipe Miocic has been an underdog several times in his career, but something feels different about his upcoming title fight against Jon Jones at UFC 295.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the ex-UFC heavyweight champion hasn’t fought in more than two years, and that his last fight ended in devastating fashion at the hands of Francis Ngannou in 2021. Miocic also just recently celebrated his 41st birthday, and it’s well documented that age is the ultimate equalizer even for the greatest fighters in the history of the sport.

As the fight draws near, Jones sits as a 4-to-1 favorite to beat Miocic, but don’t expect the Cleveland native to start sweating bullets because people are betting on him to lose.

“It took me a couple fights, but after a while, I just stopped caring what everyone thought,” Miocic said in an interview with “I just don’t care anymore.

“You think I’m going to lose? Good for you. You’re going to waste a lot of money now. You’re going to bet against me, you’re going to lose some money. Sorry for that, but onto the next.”

In preparation for Jones, Miocic ramped up his training by adding size to his frame after hitting the scale at just 234 pounds for his last bout against Ngannou. He gave up almost 30 pounds to the Cameroon native, and that size difference ultimately worked against him.

While Jones only weighed 248 pounds in his heavyweight debut, Miocic no longer wants to deal with a situation where he’s outsized by his opponents, so he’s put a focus on adding extra pounds before he travels to New York for the fight in November.

“I used to be around 240-ish, and the [Daniel Cormier] fights, I just kept losing weight,” Miocic explained. “I don’t know. I was eating a ton of food, I just kept losing it.

“So we changed some things up in my camp and I’m eating a lot more and doing the right things. I’m definitely over 240, so 245 [pounds].”

When it comes to matching his skills against Jones in the octagon, Miocic understands that he’s facing a fighter many have proclaimed as the greatest of all-time.

Jones has never had a legitimate defeat in his career — his one loss came via disqualification — and he’s taken out eight ex-champs or interim titleholders from the UFC.

It’s an impressive résumé to be sure, but Miocic has never been intimidated by anybody during his career, and he certainly won’t start now.

“I feel strong, I feel good,” Miocic said. “You get some bumps and bruises along the way but it’s training camp. Honestly, I feel great. My head’s right where I need to be. I have a great team with me, we have a great team. At the gym and at home, I’m very lucky.

“[I think] my speed, my angles [and] I think punching power [will give him problems]. I hit a lot harder than people think. I think I have a great IQ. I always change it up and when something happens, I’ll figure a way out.”

There’s been plenty of speculation leading up to the event that Miocic could potentially retire with win or a loss, but he’s not ready to address those rumors.

Instead, Miocic just wants to add another accolade to his legacy by reclaiming the UFC heavyweight title and taking out arguably the best fighter to ever compete in MMA.

“[This fight means] everything,” Miocic said. “I think this is what it’s all about. It’s what the fans want to see. It’s a fight he wanted, a fight I wanted. Two of the best going at it, nothing gets better than that.”

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