Do We Still Need to See Jon Jones vs Stipe Miocic?

jon jones, stipe miocic
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

When Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic were announced as the main event for the original iteration of UFC 295, it was met with a level of excitement and intrigue befitting of a meeting between two of the sport’s all-time great fighters. 

Even with the obvious flaws, it felt like we had been building up to that point for years now. 

However, when Jon Jones tore his pectoral muscle in training, scrapping the bout and setting the stage for the introduction of an interim strap, the house of cards fell.

Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic’s Parallel Journey

Stipe Miocic

It’s been well over a decade since Jon Jones publicly expressed interest in fighting at heavyweight. In 2012, the then light heavyweight champion told fans that he expected to jump up the scale sometime the following year. 

That tight timetable evolved into his 2023 debut in the division which saw him capture the vacant title. 

In between that time, getting the best in a rivalry with eventual heavyweight champ and Strikeforce Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier along with his domination of multiple generations of 205 pound contenders only fueled speculation about how Jon Jones would perform in the bigger class. 

During much of that time, Stipe Miocic was forging his own path to the history books. Similar to Jones, he defeated multiple generations of elite fighters, won the crown, and got the better of Cormier during their series of fights. 

Flawed History

We were hoping for one of those rare moments that generational talents could face another and put a stop to what would surely be years of hypothetical conversations. But even through the initial excitement, it was clear that the moment came with several asterisks.

For starters, the fight that everyone, including the UFC, wanted to see was off the table as Francis Ngannou left the promotion along with the undisputed belt. With the lineal champion taking his talents to the boxing ring and, presumably at some point, the PFL, the idea of a Jones and Ngannou fight has been lost to insincere promotion and contractual noise.

Additionally, Miocic’s inactivity after dropping the title to Ngannou meant he did not fight his way back to contendership continuing a pattern of refusing to compete outside of championship opportunities that started after his lone loss to Cormier. So not only would Miocic be returning from a lengthy layoff, our last image of him before the opening bell would be the Ohio native sleeping on the canvas.

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Tom Aspinall’s Laid the Nail in the Coffin

Tom Aspinall

Tom Aspinall’s ascension from impressive prospect to UFC belt holder pressure tested the need for Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic to face one another under these circumstances. With the emergence of an exciting fresh face and a new piece of hardware to place him above the field of heavyweight hopefuls, why place Jones in front of someone who despite his past accolades, has done nothing in the present deserving of a championship opportunity?

If Miocic did not truly earn his title shot and there are two men holding UFC gold, why not unify the title?

It’s a question that even Aspinall has not gotten a sufficient answer for.

Would the version of Miocic with years on the shelf that was last seen getting knocked out add to Jones’ legacy more than the budding English star who appears to be at the height of his own noteworthy run in the Octagon?

Yes, Jones versus Miocic might be a welcomed addition to the calendar from a sheer entertainment standpoint. Both men have crafted some of MMA’s most spectacular moments and could combine for the same. But much like Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva, the point in time when it mattered most has passed. 

Why force a fight for the most disputed undisputed title in history when there’s something far more logical and legitimate standing right in front of us?

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Ant Walker is a native of the Washington DC area that now lives in Los Angeles. He has been... More about Anthony Walker

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