It's a shame that someone has to lose. That's the foremost thought in my mind when thinking of the UFC 146 bout that features Stipe Miocic and Shane Del Rosario. Both present unblemished records, have demonstrated exciting fights, and last, but certainly not least, have personal stories that precede them into the octagon. Miocic, an accomplished Golden Gloves boxer and NCAA wrestler, just happens to charge into burning buildings when not fighting. Del Rosario, after suffering a serious back injury at the hands of a drunk driver, is making his UFC debut, as well as his first return to MMA action since the accident, this Saturday night against Miocic. I was able to get a short interview with Stipe to get some final thoughts leading up to Saturday night's appointment with Shane.
*Note: This interview is a short one. I only had a few minutes with him, so the transcription will be brief.
Stephie Daniels: How has this training camp been?
Stipe Miocic: Camp has been fantastic. I went out and helped Brendan Schaub at Grudge Training Center for his last fight, and when I got back, I got the phone call to fight Shane. Everything has been pretty much the same. Lots of kickboxing, stuff like that. Nothing too far out from my normal camps.
Stephie Daniels: Have you watched much of his fight tape, or do you not focus too much on that?
Stipe Miocic: I've watched his fight tape, but he's been out for awhile, so he might have changed things up. I know he's a southpaw and likes to kick a lot. He's pretty good on the ground too, so it should be exciting. I know one thing, I'll keep my hands up [laughs].
Stephie Daniels: Have you had to cut back on your shifts at the firehouse?
Stipe Miocic: I haven't reduced my schedule at all. I pick my shifts at night, so I can get my two workouts a day in. They're pretty lenient with me, so that's nice.
Stephie Daniels: Your future seems to be shining brightly with the UFC. If you continue on this win streak, and get closer to title contention, or let's say at some point you get a title, do you still see yourself being a full time firefighter?
Stipe Miocic: Oh yes, of course. I love that job. It's the best job in the world. It's so fun. It's like a playground for guys.
Stephie Daniels: Do you like the hero factor associated with it?
Stipe Miocic: I don't know if it's really a hero factor. I just like helping people in need. I like the atmosphere, too. It's constant ball-busting, 24-7. It's a really fun job. I'll always be a firefighter, no matter what.
Stephie Daniels: If you win this fight, where do you feel you'll be? Just a couple away from a contender's spot, or do you want to hold off and get more experience?
Stipe Miocic: I have no idea. That's not for me to decide. I wouldn't mind getting some more fights under my belt. I want to keep getting better, first and foremost.
Stephie Daniels: How do you feel about being on this card that's just packed with heavyweight talent?
Stipe Miocic: It's so awesome. I'm grateful for the opportunity the UFC gave me to be on it. I'm so excited. I've never been to Las Vegas, so that's going to be fun, being my first time. It's such a great card. I can't wait.
Stephie Daniels: How do you see the Frank Mir vs. Junior dos Santos fight going?
Stipe Miocic: That's a good question [laughs]. It's a hard fight to choose. You've got Mir, who's really good on the ground and is a good striker, but dos Santos is a good striker, too, but he likes to keep it standing. I think it comes down to whoever implements their game plan best. That's who's going to win that fight.
Follow Stipe via his Twitter, @smiocic