Jon Jones’ next opponent Stipe Miocic will offer ‘something he hasn’t seen before’

Stipe Miocic has said he offers something that Jon Jones ‘hasn’t seen before’ in an opponent, with the pair set to fight one another later this year.

Jones, 35, returned to the Octagon on Saturday after a three-year absence, winning the vacant heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 285. The American, a former two-time light-heavyweight champion, submitted Ciryl Gane in the first round to increase his claim to the status of the greatest mixed martial artist ever.

Miocic, meanwhile, is seen by many as the greatest heavyweight of all time, and the 40-year-old was in attendance at the T-Mobile Arena for Jones’ title win in Las Vegas. The former two-time UFC champion is in line to fight compatriot Jones next, potentially during International Fight Week in July.

“Honestly, I thought it was going to a decision,” Miocic told ESPN at UFC 285, moments after Jones’ win against Gane.

“I didn’t know how Jon was... He took three years off, but hats off to him. You see some things; I’ll keep them to myself, but I definitely see some things [I can exploit against Jones].

“It’s a fight, he won. Good for him, hats off, but unfortunately he’s got to fight me in July.

“He’s a big boy, he’s 6ft [3]in, 247lbs or something like that. I’m bigger than that; we’re all big boys at heavyweight. I actually weigh more than both of them right now. I actually weigh 253lbs, so it’s kind of nice.

“[I offer] just something he hasn’t seen before – I know it’s cliche and everyone says it, but honestly that’s the truth.”

Jon Jones working towards a submission of Ciryl Gane (Getty Images)
Jon Jones working towards a submission of Ciryl Gane (Getty Images)

Miocic last fought in March 2021, losing the heavyweight belt with a knockout defeat by Francis Ngannou, who vacated the title while leaving the UFC this January.

Miocic first won the title in 2016 and achieved a record three consecutive title defences – including a decision win over Ngannou in their first bout. The part-time firefighter then lost the title to Daniel Cormier, an old rival of Jones, in 2018 but regained it in their rematch the following year. Miocic beat Cormier again to retain the belt in 2020 before losing it to Ngannou.

Meanwhile, Jones’ victory over Gane marked his heavyweight debut. In 2011, Jones became the youngest UFC champion ever when he won the light-heavyweight title at the age of 23, and he also has the most title-fight wins in UFC history (15). However, his career has been marred by numerous failed drug tests and run-ins with the law.

Jones was twice stripped of the light-heavyweight title – once due to a failed drug test and once due to an arrest – and was also stripped of the interim belt, due to another failed drug test.

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