It’s been 9 months since we last saw Stipe Miocic in the cage. He lost his belt to current champ Francis Ngannou back in March of this year and since then the heavyweight division has been through a lot of changes. Cyril Gane claimed an interim title against Derrick Lewis in what was a very heavily criticised bout, with many fans feeling the inclusion of an interim title was unnecessary and somewhat disrespectful to the Champ himself. On top of that we are still no closer to seeing a heavyweight Jon Jones bout. Those factors along with the number of surging heavyweight talents has made the top of the division a somewhat confusing place.
So what could be next for Clevelands home town hero? there are several options open to Miocic and with his 40th birthday around the corner we will probably be seeing it sooner rather than later. so what are those options? for me there are 3 main options that Miocic could possibly take next.
Firstly, the option this article is titled after. A number contender spot vs Derrick Lewis. Lewis is coming off a historic KO win over Chris Daukus at fight night 199, bouncing back from his interim title loss to Cyril Gane. Many people feel like before Stipe gets another title shot, he should have to beat another contender at heavy weight and who better to excite the fans with than Derrick Lewis. The two giants have yet to face each other and now seems like the perfect time with both fighters probably only 1 fight away from a title shot.
An immediate title shot? There aren’t many heavyweights who can boast the resumé and experience of Stipe, with many considering him the GOAT of the division, so it wouldn’t be too shocking to see him given the winner of Ngannou vs Gane. Both of those fights would be exciting matchups, with Ngannou making it a trilogy to see who takes the best of three and Cyril Gane posing a very new challenge for the former champ with his high level kickboxing, cardio and speed.
The 3rd is probably the least likely but most intriguing matchup which would be Stipe welcoming Jon Jones to the heavyweight division. This kind of feels like a lost matchup, had Stipe beaten Ngannou in their 2nd bout it is very likely the next fight would have been against Jones. It would be interesting to see if Jones would take that fight without a belt on the line, legacy wise it is definitely a very big matchup for both fighters with a win for either all but cementing their place as the GOAT.