UFC Heavyweight Championship to Become Relevant Again

November 15, 2023
4 months

A Main Event for Champions

Heavyweight boxing news was rocked when Francis Ngannou announced to the world that he would be stepping away from the UFC to pursue an exhibition fight with Tyson Fury. He’s also part of a long-term project with the Professional Fighters League, the direct rival of the UFC. So, where did this leave the UFC Heavyweight Championship? MMA News Websites clambered to think of fights to determine a heavyweight dream match.

Jon Jones won the vacant title in his heavyweight division debut with a Performance of the Night, as Ciryl Gane tapped out to a guillotine choke. Jones has an exceptional pedigree and record at light heavyweight but wants to stamp his authority in this new division.

Enter Stipe Miocic. If there was any opponent for Jon Jones to make his heavyweight career a legitimate success, it would be Miocic. The two-time UFC heavyweight champion commanded the division during the 2010s, making it from the Ultimate Fighter ranks to winning the title in Curitiba, Brazil. Miocic went on to defend the title in three consecutive matches, a record for the UFC division and, later, a fourth time overall. Among his wins was Francis Ngannou, with whom he went the distance.

 

Jones Needs to Block out Ngannou Noise

Jon Jones would be forgiven for getting distracted during the build-up to his main event fight at UFC 295. Online boxing news outlets and even mainstream media are focusing on Francis Ngannou continually telling the media he wants to fight Jones for the heavyweight championship after his bout with Tyson Fury. Ngannou essentially regrets not sticking around to fight Jones and now wants to broker a cross-promotion bout. Chances of that happening? Zero. Jones needs to be able to block him on social media and concentrate on himself.

Will Inactivity Cost Miocic in Heavyweight Championship Clash?

Stipe Miocic might be considered among the best, maybe even the best heavyweight fighter in the history of the UFC. Yet even the best MMA news sites remind fighters and fans that they are only as good as their last fight, well, at least to pundits. The problem is that Miocic’s last fight was in 2021. He’s earned the right not to fight every weekend for his gas money home, but going straight back into the main event scene, now aged 41, might be a tall task. Hopefully, his sparring preparation has been extensive and given him something close to fight experience.

 

Is White just Cashing in on Miocic one more time?

Is Dana White trying to squeeze every penny out of fighters? Never! One of the most polarizing figures in combat sports, the UFC CEO has been known to be a shrewd businessman who likes to capitalize on his assets. Is putting Stipe Miocic in this fight just the latest example? An incredibly marketable figure, is his appointment in the UFC 295 main event against Jones just a way to make a quick dollar before he retires? If he wins, then does White want a 41-year-old to carry the division? He might end up retiring with the belt and having it vacated yet again.

 

Jones’ Vacated Title Hangs in Balance in Procházka vs. Pereira

Jon Jones vacated the light heavyweight title some time ago now. It was a title he had an on-and-off-again relationship with, given he won it, was stripped of it, and won it back. Calling the division a circus is putting it lightly. Since then, it’s had four different champions, but nobody has been dominant with it.

Jiří Procházka held the belt before but also had to have it torn away from him due to injury. For the Czech fighter to reclaim the belt, he’ll have to stave off Alex Pereira, the man who is ranked 11th in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings. The Brazilian transitioned from middleweight to success at light heavyweight and earned this title shot by defeating another former champ, Jan Błachowicz, back at UFC 291.

UFC Returns to the Garden

The best cards from Ultimate Fighting Championship are worthy of elite-level venues. UFC 295 is set to take place in the historic Madison Square Garden in New York City. The building is steeped in combat sports history, overseeing iconic events from boxing, wrestling, and, of course, mixed martial arts.

Alex Pereira already has experience in having his arm lifted in this historic venue, as he defeated Israel Adesanya for the UFC Middleweight Championship. It will be one day into the year when he steps into the octagon against Jiří Procházka. Could the Brazilian make this a bit of a home ground and lift two titles here in the space of a calendar year?

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