Friday, January 19, 2018

The UFC is woefully short of big PPV draws with Ronda Rousey retired, Brock Lesnar rasslin on, Jon Jones suspended until eleventy leven, Conor McGregor again not defending his belt until it’s stripped, Anderson Silva old, and Georges St-Piere suffering from a stomach ailment. And they have to cover a $4 billion note. So there’s an intense need for the Next Big Thing.

On Saturday night at UFC 220, we will find out if Francis Ngannou is the next big thing, when he challenges current champion Stipe Miocic. It’s apparent that the UFC hopes a major PPV star emerges, and it’s not the guy of Croatian extraction.

With a win, Miocic would become the first UFC heavyweight champion to successfully defend the title more than twice. A solid case could be made for division G.O.A.T. And he’s so man-of-the-earth he has continued to work fulltime as a fireman. While Ngannou is believed to be nearing monster status with his last four fights ending in the first round, Miocic’s last four ended in the first round too, and against better competition.

Miocic figures the fuss might be due to Ngannou’s size.

 

“He’s a big dude who hits hard and that’s what people want,” said Miocic to Kevin Iole for Yahoo Sports. “People love knockouts and he’s going out there and he’s knocking people out. I do the same thing, but I’m not as big as he is and not as terrifying, so I’m just a regular fireman guy who likes to fight.”

Miocic knocked out former champ Fabricio Werdum while backing up. Ngannou will be coming forward.

“We actually do that angle a lot,” said Miocic. “You pick out the good right angle and work on countering. We’ve worked on that for years and the best time to do it was in a championship fight. It worked out perfectly.”

“Nothing’s going to change. I’m going to walk out with the belt still wrapped around my waist. Nothing is going to change.”

Or maybe they will. Maybe Stip Miocic will finally get the asses in seats he has earned.