On FS1’s “UFC Tonight,” Stipe Miocic, who defends his title against Junior Dos Santos tonight, isn’t concerned that he lost his first fight to Dos Santos.
“I know I can hang with a man who beat me,” he said. “I went five rounds with him and took everything he had. I know I can be the champ and hang with anyone.”
In a sport where fighters search for motivation to train harder and prepare better, Stipe says losing the JDS last time is providing just that. “I’m fighting the last guy who beat me,” he said. “The last time I lost it was to him. I want to get it back. I like winning. I want to be the champ. I like walking out with the belt.”
JDS has predicted Stipe won’t last five rounds with him this time, and that he’ll knock him out in two. To that, Miocic said: “Good for him. It’s good to be confident. But he knows it’s not going to happen. I guarantee that. He said it last time and it went five rounds. I’m completely different than three years ago. His eyes will be wide open when we get in there and I shut him down.”
Analysis: Torch Audio Analyst and LA Time MMA columnist Todd Martin told me on this week’s episode of “The Fix with Todd Martin” he favors Stipe: “Stipe has improved a lot since his first fight with Junior Dos Santos, which was a real war. I don’t know if Junior has improved so much. He’s been through so many wars. I would expect Stipe to be fresher this time round. I think he’s younger as a fighter, less mileage. Given how good the first fight was, it looks like a really good fight.”