Stipe Miocic is no stranger to rematches, but on this occasion he found himself on the losing end.
The former UFC heavyweight champion was violently dethroned by Francis Ngannou just 52 seconds into the second round of their UFC 260 main event last Saturday. Miocic’s second reign as champ ends after just one defense, and as was the case versus Daniel Cormier in 2018, he lost his belt by KO.
Miocic was hospitalized and thus didn’t go to the post-fight press conference, but he has released his first statement since his defeat.
“First and foremost, I’m OK,” Miocic wrote on Instagram. “I know that fall wasn’t my most graceful fall, but I was unconscious, so it happens. To my family friends and fans, especially Croatia & Cleveland … I love you and I’m sorry. I hate letting you down. To my team, thank you. I know you feel every loss just as much as I do. We win as a family, we lose as a family.
“Losses aren’t fun, they always sting for a while, but that’s the beast of this business. You can’t win them all, and it’s important to understand that losing is just as much a part of sports (and life) as winning. Don’t ever forget God will always put you where you’re meant to be at that exact moment. You can’t dwell on what you should have done better, but you can learn and improve from it and come back more prepared next time.”
Miocic had a difficult first round, having seen his takedown stuffed and then he was the one taken down and punished with several punches in rapid succession. Things went from bad to worse in round two when a left hand by Ngannou sent him to the canvas. Stipe caught Ngannou with a flush right hand, and in his eagerness to try and pounce on Francis he was the one flattened by a monstrous hook that sealed the deal for the new champ.
“Unfortunately, I deviated from game plan,” Miocic continued. “I felt great coming into the second round, I saw it was beginning to go as planned. He was getting very winded, and I came in over zealous and unprotected. I wasn’t in a good posture to take the hit. He saw the opening, and did what any great fighter would have done.
“That was my error that I accept, it wont happen again. Lastly, I’d like to congratulate Francis Ngannou and his team on a well earned victory. Saturday night was your night, enjoy your victory! For now, I’m going to enjoy the down time, spend some time with my family, and welcome our son into the world this summer... stay tuned, God bless.”
Miocic (20-4) is certainly one of the greatest heavyweights of all-time and in the eyes of some he’s the number one. While a trilogy bout is not at the forefront considering the possibility of Ngannou vs. Jon Jones or even an Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis rematch, perhaps Stipe may yet look for one more run at being champion again.
But for now, he’ll be sidelined in recovery and expecting his second child.