When news of Jon Jones injury was announced alongside a new interim heavyweight title fight between Tom Aspinall vs. Sergei Pavlovich the one fighter missing from the equation was Stipe Miocic, but now Dana White has explained why the former champion won’t be involved in the hastily rearranged line-up for UFC 295.
“Stipe’s not fighting for an interim title,” Dana White told the media after last night’s Power Slap event. “Jones said, ‘I want to fight Stipe. I said, ‘You’re fighting Stipe.’ You have the greatest heavyweight to all-time, versus the greatest martial artist of all time. This is a legacy fight for both of those guys.
“To even call Stipe and ask Stipe to fight for an interim title, is complete disrespect. This is a fight for two legends. Legacy. Two of the greatest to ever do it. The fans want to see it, I want to see it and they both want to do it.”
White did admit however that the 41-year-old Miocic is far from happy about the situation.
“Obviously Stipe’s been in training camp, and he spent time and energy and money on this thing,” White said. “And when this happens, it’s like – obviously he’s very, very upset about it. These fighters go through a ton of emotions. You saw the backstage with Daniel Cormier when the fight fell out (at UFC 200), and that was days before the fight. But yeah, he’s upset. But he’s the greatest heavyweight of all time. This fight makes sense for him. This is a legacy fight. For Jon Jones to fight Stipe at heavyweight, it’s massive in his career. For Stipe to beat Jon Jones and regain the heavyweight title, why would you want to do anything else?
“Stipe Miocic is going to fight in an interim title fight? No. He’s upset. He’s upset and he deserves to be upset. But it’s one of those things, it’s no one’s fault. Jon Jones wants to fight. Jon Jones doesn’t want to have surgery. We don’t want the Jon Jones fight to go away with Stipe, but it is what it is and we all have to deal with it.”
Even if Jones recovery is relatively swift, by the time he’s ready to fight again it will have been well over three years since the 41-year-old Miocic last fought in the Octagon.
However, for now there’s not even a definitive timeline as to when Jones will be ready to compete again, though White says the champion is eager to undergo surgery as soon as possible.
“I’m not thinking about anything until I know how Jon’s surgery goes. He’s got to have surgery, so I’ve got to get through the surgery, see how fast he recovers,” White said. “He was very serious, he was literally like, ‘I want to do the surgery this week.’ So, he wants to go get this thing done and start rehabbing and start working his way back.”