A rematch between champion Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou will headline UFC 260, the promotion announced Saturday night. The co-main event will feature UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski against Brian Ortega.
After dominating Ngannou (15-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC) to a lopsided unanimous decision at UFC 220 in January 2018, Miocic (20-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) will put his title up for grabs again in the main event of the March 27 card, which is likely to take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and air on pay-per-view following prelims expected on ESPN and ESPN+.
Since losing the initial meeting, Ngannou has put together a 4-1 record. All four of those victories have come consecutively, with “The Predator” putting away all his opponents by first-round knockout in a combined 2:42 of cage time.
Miocic, for his part, has spent the last three-plus years engaging in a trilogy with Daniel Cormier. He won the deciding bout at UFC 252 in August, and now he turns his focus back to Ngannou, who he doesn’t think he has come far enough to beat.
Stipe Miocic talks about the rematch with Ngannou
Speaking in broad strokes, rematches tend to favour younger athletes, regardless of who won the initial battle. The older fighter is likely to grow a bit slower, whereas the up-and-comer is more likely to have improved since. Despite the trend, Miocic is confident and promises a repeat performance.
“Francis is a super tough guy,” Miocic said, speaking on the “Oral Sessions” podcast (via TheMacLife). “He’s been knocking everyone out again and he’s on a tear, and unfortunately he’s going to have to fight me again. That’s the bad part. He’s gotten better, but so have I.
“I know I’m getting old, but I’ve gotten wiser and I’ve got a few new tricks up my sleeve. (They say) you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, which is a lie,” he continued. “I’ve learned a lot since the last couple of years ago. It’s the same outcome. I’m going to walk out with the belt around my waist: and still.”
Stipe used his wrestling to control Ngannou but it appears he believes his speed will be the difference-maker this time around.
“Timing and speed,” Stipe Miocic said. “Just speed. It’s all about speed. Speed kills, and that’s something we’ve worked on the last couple of camps fighting DC.”
If Miocic does get past Ngannou again at UFC 260, all signs point to the most significant fight of his career waiting in the wings. Former longtime UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones has committed to a move up to the heavyweight division, and it appears likely he’s going to get an immediate title shot. Miocic said he’s gathered the same information that Jones is on deck, but knows it would be foolish to shift any focus off his rematch with Ngannou.
“I heard that too, (about Jones),” Miocic said. “I’ll fight anyone. For now, though, the task at hand, the only thing I’m thinking about, is Francis.”
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