A look at the life of Stipe Miocic, both in and out of athletics, shows him to be someone who has a deep disdain for idle time.
Before making mixed martial arts his home, the Ohio native competed at a high level in baseball, wrestling and boxing, and even after establishing himself as one of the top contenders in the UFC’s heavyweight division, he maintains gigs as a paramedic and firefighter.
In two different cities.
“I still have plenty of time to train,” he chuckles. “I work a lot of weekends, work a lot of nights, so it all works out. The chiefs are pretty lenient with me, and I still get my hours in, so it all works out.”
It has so far, with Miocic winning seven of nine UFC bouts since debuting in the Octagon in 2011. This Saturday, he faces former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski in the co-main event of UFC 195 in Las Vegas, and with a win, the No. 3 ranked Miocic could be staring at a world title shot. If he gets that shot and wins the title, life will change considerably, but he refuses to let that change him.
That attitude is as old school as it comes, but he gives full credit for it to his mom, Kathy.
“I think my mom ingrained it in me,” he said. “My mom’s such a hard worker and she really pushed it to the limit and is just non-stop. I think I learned it from her. She’s an awesome woman and she told me to work hard at everything I do.”
That means dealing with whatever would come his way should he earn a world championship belt, media tours and all.
“You’ve got to do what you gotta do,” laughs Miocic. “It’s part of the gig.”
And when the affable 33-year-old finishes with all the work in the gym and all the interviews and photo shoots, he gets his payoff in the form of a fistfight.
“It’s the fun part,” he said. “You train so hard to do something, you have to have a good time.”
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The first good time of 2016 takes place on Saturday, and it comes after a long 2015 that saw him make only one trip to the Octagon, a May win over Mark Hunt (WATCH IT HERE). He would have had a second fight in October against Ben Rothwell, but an injury forced him to the sidelines and put a damper on an otherwise good year for the recently-engaged heavyweight.
“I didn’t want to pull out of that fight,” Miocic said. “I never pulled out of a fight before, so that was kind of devastating for me and I was bummed out for a little bit. But the UFC gave me a great matchup (with Arlovski), I got engaged, and it’s been an amazing year. There were ups and downs, but mostly ups.”
He’ll be seeking another “up” against Arlovski as he looks to make a case for a shot at the winner of February’s heavyweight title rematch between Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez.
“He (Arlovski) is a tough guy and a former champ,” Miocic said. “He’s fought the best in the world and he’s gonna come in and be ready to fight, just like me. So I’m super excited. A lot of fireworks are gonna happen, and we’re going to put on a great show.”
If Miocic wins that show, does he prefer to face Werdum or Velasquez?
“I wouldn’t care,” he said. “I think I match up well with both of them.”