This is number sixty-one in Jack Brown’s series of interviews with MMA fighters and personalities, and for this particular interview, we’re pleased to feature veteran UFC heavyweight, Stipe Miocic. Miocic was originally supposed to have a preliminary card matchup against Soa Palelei, this Saturday, June 15th, at UFC 161, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Due to injuries and various other issues, the UFC decided to bolster the card by having Miocic fight in the co-main event against "Big Country," Roy Nelson, instead.
Check out the UFC Countdown for the match up:
Miocic has been very busy preparing for this matchup, but he took a moment during fight week to briefly share his thoughts. Please enjoy the conversation below.
Jack Brown: What was your first experience with martial arts/combat sports, and how did it become more than just a hobby for you?
Stipe Miocic: I was helping a guy with his wrestling for a fight. After that, I never left the gym.
JB: What do you recall about your first professional MMA fight, a TKO win back in 2010, and how prepared do you feel you were at the time?
SM: It was great. The fight ended quickly. LOL. I was ready because I have an amazing team and coaches.
JB: Coming into the UFC, you were 6-0, and a highly-touted prospect. What was the experience of your victorious UFC debut, against Joey Beltran at UFC 136, like for you?
SM: It was amazing and overwhelming. It was something I will never forget.
JB: You were 3-0 in the UFC going into your most recent fight, a headlining spot on Fuel TV, against Stefan Struve, in the UK, back in September. Though it was the "Fight of the Night," it was your first professional loss and the first time you have been stopped in your career. How did that loss affect you and what have you been working on in the nine months since then?
SM: It sucks. No one likes losing. I trained harder, and worked on everything that I had trouble with, to make me a better fighter come June 15th.
JB: What do you think of this matchup with the skilled, and uniquely built, Roy Nelson, the opportunity to beat a veteran of his caliber, and having to adjust to these significant changes in an opponent with just a few weeks’ notice?
SM: Nelson is a very well-rounded fighter. I like the matchup and wouldn't have taken it if I didn't think so. I was training already, and the only thing that has changed is my game-plan.
JB: Certainly your focus is on Nelson and this week's fight, but if you let your mind wander for a moment, what other heavyweights would you eventually like to get a chance to test yourself against?
SM: Honestly, whoever they ask me to.
JB: In the land of heavyweight MMA fighters, you certainly have had no trouble holding your own. But you are not at the size and build where you approach the upper limits of the division or need to cut weight. What would be the advantages and disadvantages, for a fighter like you, fighting at the 205lb light heavyweight limit?
SM: I don't know. Losing 35 to 40lbs is a lot of weight. I don't have much I can lose. I think it would hurt me.
JB: I think that most fans of the sport regard you as a very tough, relatively unassuming type of guy, who has yet to dip his toe into any of the controversies that sometimes define the sport's athletes. Is that who you are, or are there some issues related to the sport that you feel passionately about right now?
SM: I'm here to fight. That's all. LOL.
JB: What else do you enjoy outside of training and fighting?
SM: I enjoy hanging out, playing video games, etc., nothing out of the ordinary.
JB: Last question, Stipe, and thanks for taking the time to do this. What does it mean to you to be a fighter and how much do you enjoy it?
SM: It means everything. I wouldn't change it for the world. I love every second of it!
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