Stipe Miocic Embracing Underdog Role Ahead Of Francis Ngannou Fight

Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

UFC Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic may be preparing for his toughest test to date, as he’s set to take on red hot knockout artist Francis Ngannou in the main event of Jan. 20, 2017’s UFC 220 from Boston, Massachusetts.

Given Ngannou’s recent streak and brutal fight-ending power, Miocic, who’s won five-straight fights by way of T/KO, is actually the betting underdog, but it appears to be a role he’s embracing:

“I’m the underdog. What do you expect?” Miocic said at yesterday’s (Dec. 29, 2017) UFC 220 press conference. “That’s what the betting line says, right? But I’m used to it. I’m pretty much the underdog in all my fights. I don’t mind being the underdog, because I like shutting people up.

“People bet against me, and they lose a lot of money. I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘Ugh,’ and (I say), ‘What’s wrong?’ (They say), ‘I lost a lot of money on you. I bet against you.’ I say, ‘Next time, you should bet for me.’ I’m used to it every fight.”

Over the last year or so, it seems as if the UFC has been grooming Ngannou as its next big star, and if the Cameroon native can score another highlight reel knockout and become the heavyweight champion, he could very well become the promotion’s next big thing. Miocic, however, is poised to not allow that to happen:

“I think everyone does, but it ain’t gonna happen, I can tell you that,” Miocic said. “He can do it to someone else, but it ain’t going to happen to me.

“Listen, man. He knocked out Overeem pretty good. Good for him. Great knockout. But it ain’t going to happen when we fight on January 20th. Sorry, but it’s not going to happen. I’m not going to put myself in that position. I’m not going to put my head in the lane, either.”

Who do you expect to come out on top next month?