Stipe Miocic believes Francis NGannou's size advantage will make it easier for him to secure a perfect 2-0 record against NGannou in their UFC 260 rematch. During a recent appearance on the show Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette, Miocic shared his thoughts on Francis NGannou's bulked-up physique upon being asked if Stipe thinks it will be an issue for the Predator.
"I hope so... Good. Get tired again. I would love it!" Stipe Miocic responded.
While acknowledging the improvements shown by Francis NGannou following their first fight at UFC 220 in 2018, Stipe Miocic drew attention to the evolution of his own game and the ability to acquire new fighting skills despite being on the wrong side of 35.
"Francis (NGannou) is a super tough guy. He's been knocking everyone out again and he's on a tear and unfortunately, he's gonna fight me again. That's bad part. He's definitely gotten better but so am I. I know I'm getting older but I've gotten wiser and I'm learning a few new tricks up my sleeve. (It's believed) You can't teach a new trick to an old guy which is a lie. I've learned a lot ever since that last fight which was a couple of years ago. It's the same outcome... I'm gonna walk out with the belt still wrapped around my waist, hand raised 'and still' (the champion)," Stipe Miocic told Renee Paquette.
Stipe Mioicic and Francis NGannou previously fought at UFC 220 in a fight that saw Miocic weather the early storm of NGannou's wild and winging punches and pick him apart over the course of five rounds with sleek movement, speed and well timed takedowns. While Francis NGannou caught Miocic clean a few times in the first round, Miocic was able to survive and impose his game on the Predator. Following the win, Stipe Miocic became the only fighter in the history of UFC's heavyweight division to defend the championship belt three consecutive times.
Both Stipe Miocic and Francis NGannou went on to lose their next fights against Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis respectively. Stipe Miocic recaptured the belt from Cormier in their rematch and won the trilogy fight to defend it while NGannou went on defeat four opponents via first round knockout including former champions Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos.
Stipe Miocic vs Francis NGannou is an intriguing affair
Much of the intrigue surrounding the rematch between Stipe Miocic and Francis NGannou is due to the difference of styles. While Miocic is a smaller heavyweight and an overall better fighter with versatile skillset, NGannou is known for his legit one-punch knockout power and finishing instinct.
Despite having won the power versus technique battle in their first meeting, Stipe Miocic is a +130 betting underdog against -160 favourite Francis NGannou heading into the UFC 260 rematch due to NGannou's proven finishing ability.
The thing going against Francis NGannou however, is his alleged negligence towards following the gameplan. While talking during an interview with The Bash MMA, Francis NGannou's former coach Fernand Lopez shared his account of NGannou's tendency to depend on his power more than other aspects of fighting.
"No matter how hard I teach Francis to wrestle, he will never be a better wrestler than Curtis Blaydes or Stipe Miocic. Therefore this is the last thing I have to do. The first thing is to try to hit the guy without getting touched... That's our signature in MMA Factory (Francis NGannou's former training camp). But we have Francis going against Stipe, "No. I think I can just beat this guy with one punch." Yet, when they start criticising ME, not once did he say, 'Hey guys. Stop saying that bullshit," Fernand Lopez said.
UFC 260 PPV event is scheduled to take place on March 27, 2021. The event will be co-headlined by featherweight title fight between champion Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega. The venue for the event is yet to be decided.