Will We Ever See the Return of Stipe Miocic?

Will we ever see Stipe Miocic in the octagon again? Or is retirement on the horizon for one of UFC’s most authoritative heavyweight champions? 

Conflicting information is the bane of sports media, especially regarding potential UFC bouts. And since his knockout loss to Francis Ngannou in March 2021, the former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic has had his name thrown around a few times. However, this has amounted to nothing … yet. 

Referring to the aforementioned conflicting information, former UFC light heavyweight champion and UFC President Dana White have both delivered statements to confuse the potential return of Miocic. 

Jon Jones was preparing for Miocic 

Jon Jones took to his Twitter account on October 25, 2022, and announced that he was preparing to fight Stipe Miocic in December: “I’m preparing to fight Stipe December 10 in Las Vegas. Not really sure what’s going on between Stipe and the UFC, but I’m ready to compete! I’m going to control what I can and stay in shape,” Jones wrote. 

Moments after Jones shared the news on social media; the UFC announced a light heavyweight headliner between Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira on the same date. Ultimately, this instantly removed the potential of a Jones-Miocic bout on Dec.10.  

Jones’s return to the octagon has been teased since he announced moving up to the heavyweight division. However, legal issues have stunted this return, and we haven’t seen him in the cage since 2020 – a significantly more extended layoff than that off Miocic. 

If Miocic did eventually return, a win over Jones would be a huge statement. And with a FanDuel Ohio promo code to use in his return, the expected underdog price of Miocic can be boosted to an even higher price.

Betting on Miocic wouldn’t necessarily be the sharp play, but Jones’ didn’t look so great in his previous bout against Dominick Reyes, and he’s untested in the heavyweight division.   

UFC President Dana White’s backtracking 

Dana White has hinted at Jones’ return since the summer, highlighting that Miocic or Francis Ngannou would be the potential opponents.  

“Jon Jones is ready to go,” White said during an interview on The Jim Rome Show. “We’re just waiting for an opponent. It’s either going to be Francis Ngannou, depending on how long his knee will take to recover, or Stipe Miocic.” 

One month later, Dana retracted the above statement by claiming Stipe-Jones was never on the table. 

“Jon Jones will fight next year, for sure. We never had a Stipe-Jones fight,” White said at the UFC 281 post-fight press conference. 

So, how did White take a complete U-turn on Jones-Miocic after being the person to announce the potential fight initially? 

Either Miocic has wholly ignored the UFC’s calls, and the UFC President isn’t best pleased, or Miocic has declined to fight Jones, and the UFC boss isn’t best happy. Either way, White’s tone seemed to drop an octave or two when speaking on Miocic, and we know the Ohio native doesn’t care about the glitz and glamor of the UFC. 

Could this mean that retirement is pondering on the mind of Miocic? 

Miocic isn’t a fighter who would require a retirement fight or a celebration to end his UFC career. He’s the opposite of egotistical and has generally been quiet regarding the spotlight. However, we can’t be positive that retirement is the reason for Miocic’s silence, and another explanation as to why he isn’t fighting Jones has since emerged. 

Miocic broke his silence with a post on Instagram, mourning the loss of his father. This reveal could undoubtedly be a key factor as to why we haven’t heard anything relative to Miocic’s future. 

Will Miocic retire from professional MMA?

Aged 40, Miocic doesn’t have time on his hands, and a potential return would need to happen sooner than later. Alternatively, Miocic will never return. MMA journalist Ariel Helwani and former UFC competitor Chael Sonnen believe the four-time defending heavyweight champion could be finished with the sport. 

Now that the fight isn’t happening (Jones-Miocic)… I think they’re going to turn their attention to March (and) Ngannou,” Helwani said on the MMA Hour. “And I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this marks the end of Stipe’s career. Stipe’s going to go off into the night very quietly. Stipe was never going to make a big hullabaloo… Stipe, pretty quiet guy, pretty private guy, is a firefighter; he was never going to make a big deal about the end of his fighting career.” 

 “But I also think Stipe’s pending retirement, which, of course, gets closer every day, sure it does. I think that when Stipe does retire when he does walk away, it’s going to look like today looks. Which is, we’re not going to be told. He’s going to be a top guy. He’s going to be revered. He’s going to have a beautiful ranking. He’s going to be of main-event quality, of world-title quality. And he’s not going to hand us the information.” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. 

Severe MMA Staff