It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for Stipe Miocic. The heavyweight contender from Independence, Ohio is not exactly what you would call a Dickensian character, but he did run through the gamut of emotions from the time he was forced out of his Fight Night Dublin co-main event against Ben Rothwell last weekend to getting a new fight on Jan. 2 against Andrei Arlovski days later.
“I was devastated I had to pull out of that fight,” Miocic said. “I don’t like doing that, and I had no choice.”
Luckily for the No. 3-ranked Miocic, he would only need a couple weeks of rehab to get his back in fighting shape, so he wanted to throw his name back in the hat for a fight.
“I spoke to my coaches and my manager, and we thought Jan. 2 would be a good day,” he said.
It already is for fight fans, with the UFC 195 card on Las Vegas headlined by the long-awaited welterweight title bout between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit. Now it’s good for Miocic too, as he will be on the card to face the former heavyweight champion, who has won six straight and four in the UFC.
“He (Arlovski) is on a great winning streak, he’s fought the best in the world, he’s a former champ and he’s a tough guy,” Miocic said of Arlovski. “He’s been there, done that, but he’s just another guy in front of me for me to put down.”
And though Miocic offered to reschedule his bout with Rothwell for the first UFC event of the new year, getting Arlovski may be even better for his quest to fight for the title, as “The Pit Bull” is currently ranked three slots ahead of “Big Ben” at number four. So in Miocic’s eyes, he’s getting closer to gold.
“Oh yeah, of course, but all I’ve got to worry about is January 2nd with Arlovski,” he said. “That’s all I care about. I’m super excited.”
Even though he’ll have to forego the usual holiday festivities because of training camp?
“It’s okay,” he said. “I don’t have to cut a lot of weight because I don’t cut any weight (Laughs), so it works out well. I’m still allowed to eat, which is going to be great, so nothing’s going to change. I’ll be focused on training and stuff like that. That’s all I care about. It will be fun.”
Not that the 33-year-old gets bothered by much that happens around the fight game. That’s probably because in addition to his job as one of the best heavyweights in the world, Miocic works as a paramedic and firefighter. That’s unlike any other side job held by his fellow fighters, simply because you never know what will be greeting you when that call comes in. He’s grateful that he hasn’t been put in a life threatening situation yet, but if he is, he’s ready to do what’s necessary to rescue people and put out fires.
“We’re trained to do that, but most of our calls – 95% or more - have been EMS,” he said. “But if there was a fire, I’d put it out. You’ve always got to deal with it just like a fight. I’m trained to do it, and whatever happens happens and I’ll be fine.”
So is it safe to say that nothing rattles Stipe Miocic?
“I do get rattled, but you’ve got to take it day by day and take it in stride.”
Just like fighting, even though January 2 will mark the biggest fight of his career to date.
“I think every fight’s like that,” he said. “Every fight you have is the biggest fight you ever had. And I don’t like losing, so I’ll do what I’ve got to do to keep winning.”