The two men have clashed once before – in January 2018 at UFC 220 – and the fight ended with Miocic winning via unanimous decision.
The champion went through sheer hell in order to secure his win, however, and was almost stopped on more than one occasion.
So can he repeat the feat this time around, or will the monstrous Predator become the new UFC Heavyweight champion?
Here are three reasons why Stipe Miocic will defeat Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 to defend his UFC Heavyweight title.
#1 Stipe Miocic already defeated Francis Ngannou at UFC 220
The obvious reason that Stipe Miocic will defeat Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 is that he already did it once, at UFC 220 in January 2018.
Sure, Miocic took a crazy amount of damage in that fight, but he was still the fighter who came away with his hand raised in the end.
Ngannou certainly started off in explosive fashion. He had Miocic pretty badly hurt in both the first and second rounds with some heavy punches but couldn’t find the single knockout blow to put him away.
And once the UFC champion began to land takedowns on Ngannou and outwrestle him, it became clear that the challenger simply didn’t have the cardio to compete.
By midway through the fight, Ngannou’s vaunted power had begun to fade, his gas tank was empty, and it was clear exactly who was going to win the fight.
Essentially, the fight felt like the first time Ngannou had been exposed in the UFC. And he even returned to action in gunshy fashion against Derrick Lewis a few months later, suffering another loss.
So because of this, it’s clear that more than any other fighter, Miocic knows exactly how to defeat Ngannou. He’s already got the blueprint from their first fight.
Therefore, if anyone can beat The Predator in the UFC again, it’ll be the best Heavyweight in UFC history this weekend.
#2 There’s no definitive proof that Francis Ngannou has improved since UFC 220
Since suffering the first defeat of his UFC career to Stipe Miocic at UFC 220, Francis Ngannou has bounced back in impressive fashion.
Sure, he lost his next fight to Derrick Lewis in what was a massively disappointing performance. But after that, he’s gone on a run of four straight knockouts, with none of the fights going past the first round.
But while those wins were all impressive, they all came with somewhat of a caveat.
Curtis Blaydes – a fantastic wrestler – was knocked out before he even attempted a takedown. And more to the point, the fear factor for Ngannou simply didn’t exist, as he’d stopped Razor before.
Cain Velasquez – in his prime – was arguably an even better wrestler and overall fighter than Miocic.
But by the time he fought Ngannou in early 2019, the former UFC Heavyweight champion was miles past his prime and banged up. And he couldn’t test his wrestling against Ngannou, who destroyed him in under a minute.
Meanwhile, oth Junior Dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik didn’t hold the takedown threat that Miocic does and were taken out in a matter of seconds, too.
Ngannou clearly has the power to stop any fighter he faces in the UFC. But despite this massively successful run, we still don’t really know how he’ll handle a fighter in Miocic who can get inside and take him down.
And when you consider that, it becomes relatively easy to consider Miocic the heavy favorite in this fight.
#3 Stipe Miocic is still in his fighting prime despite being 38
It'd probably be fair in any other UFC division to suggest that a fighter aged 38, like UFC Heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic, might be past his prime.
In fact, former UFC Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley also fights at UFC 260. He’s 38 – and looks very much on the final stretch of his UFC career.
But the UFC Heavyweight division has always been the land of the dinosaurs for want of a better term.
Fighters competing in the Heavyweight division regularly fight past the age of 40 and to an exceptional level, too.
Alistair Overeem, for instance, turned 40 last year and went 2-0 in the UFC. He’s been released by the promotion since, but the likelihood is that finances came into that decision.
And other UFC Heavyweights still seeing success at an advanced age include Andrei Arlovski (42), Aleksei Oleinik (43), and Derrick Lewis (36).
Even Ngannou – who is still considered to be growing as a fighter – is already 34. Essentially, at Heavyweight, fighters just seem to peak much later than their smaller counterparts.
So the truth is that a fighter like Miocic may well have another half-decade at the top and may still be in his prime right now.
And that could spell doom for Ngannou at UFC 260.
Already a remarkably durable fighter, Miocic has played things smart, too. Since the start of 2019, he’s only fought twice – essentially saving a lot of potential punishment in the bank.
So any fans of Ngannou expecting to see Miocic simply lose to Father Time at UFC 260 should probably think again.
The Predator definitely has the ability to knock Miocic out, but it’s very unlikely that Miocic will have aged overnight. If anything, his extended age – and superior experience – should be enough to pull him through this major challenge.