Tai Tuivasa has enjoyed a meteoric rise up the heavyweight ranks in the past couple of years, having racked up five wins in a row via strikes to take the No.3 spot on the ladder, and now he’s got his eyes set on a showdown with the man that’s one place above him, former champion Stipe Miocic.
“It’s definitely a fight that I think should be up next, or especially it’s the fight I want,” Tuivasa told MMA Junkie. “I think the other guys around the clock, I think we’re gonna be around for a few more years and out of respect, I think I would love to share the ring with him, and I think I’m up there for a chance of it, so why not? He’s a great fighter, someone I’ve watched for many years and someone I’d definitely love to challenge myself against.”
“I’m on a five-fight streak now, and now I’m No. 3 (in the UFC rankings). It’s not that hard. Stipe is in front and like I said, it’s somebody I’d love to challenge myself against, especially that it’s somebody that I’ve seen do his thing for many years. And, well, he’s still in front of me at the end of the day, someone I’d like to go against.”
Tuivasa’s reversal of fortunes has been quite remarkable given that back in 2019 he was actually on the verge of being released by the UFC after three losses in a row, and the fact that his last win was a KO stoppage of former title contender Derrick Lewis has only strengthened his case to get a potential title elimination fight next time out.
“Even to say Stipe’s name, it kind of sounds a bit surreal sometimes even when I say it. But it’s like, I’m here. I’ve made it now. I’m up here with the best, and that’s who I want to get next. That’s pretty cool, but it’s time for some people to move out and some new people to move in.”
As things stand Tuivasa seems to be willing to work around Miocic’s schedule, with the former champ eyeing a potential return to action in July for International Fight Week, but it remains to be seen if he’s interested in fighting ‘Bam Bam’ and whether the UFC will make it happen.