Retirement Looms as Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic Prepare for Epic Showdown

August 30, 2023
From: Spartacus

In the octagonal arena of mixed martial arts, unpredictability is the name of the game. From stunning upsets to last-minute fight cancellations, the world of MMA keeps fans on their toes, but perhaps no fighter exemplifies this constant state of flux more than Jon “Bones” Jones. Once slated to make his explosive return against Francis ‘The Predator’ Ngannou, Jones found himself in the cage with Ciryl Gane instead. But Jones didn’t just adapt to the switch-up—he triumphed, seizing the vacant heavyweight title in a mesmerising first-round submission that lasted just over two minutes. 

But let’s rewind a bit. On the OverDogs Podcast, Jones put to rest rumours suggesting he strategically dodged Ngannou. “The narrative switched somehow, and everyone is saying that I waited three years and came back exactly when Francis was gone. That’s actually not true,” Jones clarified. In fact, he was more than prepared to lock horns with ‘The Predator,’ but as luck or fate would have it, Ngannou departed the UFC. “I came back ready for Francis Ngannou, for sure. But it was kind of nice knowing I was fighting Ciryl Gane instead.”

Jones is now champion, but his journey has only just begun. His eyes are now set on Stipe Miocic, the man he’ll be defending his heavyweight belt against at UFC 295. While some may see Miocic as the underdog due to his age and recent hiatus, Jones knows better. “At this point, I still get really nervous,” he admitted. “I have nightmares about my opponents. Stipe Miocic crosses my mind constantly. I could be at my kid’s volleyball game, and I’m thinking about Stipe.”

Why such respect for Miocic? Well, Jones believes that this upcoming fight is not just another notch on his belt but a battle of legacies. “That is a man,” he said, praising his opponent. “I think we owe it to each other to fight the best fighter ever and the greatest heavyweight ever.” With Miocic expected to retire after this bout, the stakes are enormous. Both fighters carry a load of expectations, and neither can afford to lose. 

Adding another layer to this unfolding drama is Miocic’s own reputation. Although he hasn’t stepped into the octagon since his knockout loss to Ngannou at UFC 260, Miocic is no slouch. Known as one of the most accomplished heavyweights in MMA history, Jones understands that this fight is critical, not just for him, but for both fighters’ legacies. “I know that he wants this fight,” Jones continued. “I think Stipe is a very capable athlete, and we both would feel like we have unfinished business if we walked away not competing against each other.”

As Jones ponders his future in the sport, he’s also critically examining the new blood in the division. Names like Tom Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovich are storming through the rankings, but Jones is candid about his lack of interest in facing them. “As I get older, I have to look at it as a business,” he explained. “If the hardcore fans know who these guys are, that’s great, but I need to fight people that the mainstream public is going to be excited about.”

This battle against Miocic could be his swan song, his final act in a storied career. Jones has already hinted that he might defend his title just once more before thinking about retirement. But if he does bow out, he’s optimistic about the future of the heavyweight division. “Tom Aspinall has the potential to do something really special,” Jones said. “I think he’s going to be hard for the majority of guys to beat, I really do believe that.”

So as November 11th approaches, with Madison Square Garden set as the grand stage, the pieces are falling into place for what could be one of the most pivotal fights in MMA history. The older, wiser, and always unpredictable Jon Jones is not just fighting for another win; he’s fighting for his place in history. 

In the end, it all comes down to UFC 295. The narratives may have shifted, the original plans may have crumbled, but the essence of the sport remains the same: two fighters, one cage, and a legacy on the line. This is the fight that Jon Jones, Stipe Miocic, and indeed, the world of MMA has been waiting for.

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