When Fabricio Werdum won the UFC heavyweight championship by defeating heavily favored former champion Cain Velasquez at June 13’s UFC 188 from Mexico, the once-great but stagnating division was, at least for the time being, granted a plethora of potentially exciting fights now that the oft-injured AKA product had finally fought and lost his belt.
Many of the division’s power players campaigned for the next shot at ‘Vai Cavalo,’ and that included No. 3-ranked Stipe Miocic, who was last seen demolishing fan favorite Mark Hunt in ‘The Super Samoan’s’ native Australia. Miocic campaigned hard for a title shot, but was met with little more than a scoff as Velasquez was eventually awarded an immediate rematch in a puzzling contest that may not take place until next April.
That left Miocic out in the cold, and he eventually scheduled a bout with surging finisher Ben Rothwell at October 24’s UFC Fight Night 76 from Dublin, Ireland. Despite his nonstop presence on Twitter, apparently not enough people are interested in seeing Miocic fight for the title. The Croatian recently told Submission Radio that his bosses Dana White and Joe Silva simply book fights based off of popularity, and he doesn’t have quite enough of that yet as Velasquez does:
“He was a former champ, I guess. I mean, I’m just not popular enough. That’s what it is.” ““Listen, that’s not my job. That’s Joe Silva’s job and Dana White’s. They go off popularity and what the fans want. Apparently the fans didn’t want to see me fight.”
Miocic then opened up about an supposed conversation he had with White, noting that he was literally told he had to get more popular. He likens it to a high school drama contest, and said he all he could do is to keep beating his opponents:
“Yeah. Yup. I need to get more popular. I don’t know. I mean it must be like a high school thing, you know? I mean it is what it is man. I mean that’s pretty much what it was. So I mean, I gotta go out there and keep beating ass.”
With that established, Miocic doesn’t appear to be all that fazed. He closed by saying that while Rothwell may have faced a who’s who of heavyweight talent throughout his career, he had never faced anything like him, and that’s what would make the difference in Ireland:
“He’s a tough guy, like you said, he’s a veteran, he’s fought the best in the world, but he hasn’t seen anything like me. But anywhere it goes I’m gonna be alright and I’ll be the more dominant fighter, so I’m not worried about it. I just gotta do what I do. I’m gonna win that fight on October 24.”