Hit the showers, gramps.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic did not understand why the promotion opted to bench him in favor of Tom Aspinall vs. Sergei Pavlovich, who collide for the interim 265-pound title in the UFC 295 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event on Nov. 11 in New York.
Perhaps he’s too old and no longer able to sell exciting fights.
“First off, his age, let’s just be honest,” longtime UFC referee “Big” John McCarthy said on his “Weighing In” podcast with retired UFC lightweight Josh Thomson. “At that age, they’re looking and saying, ‘You’re not the guy that we can build on. Yes, you have been our champion before and yes, you have the longest run as the heavyweight champion and we want to use that to sell a fight — but we don’t think we can continue on selling fights with it and having people excited about it.’ So, first thing is his age.”
Miocic (20-4) turned 41 back in August.
“I agree,” Thomson continued. “The scary part is, I think for them, is that he’ll win the interim title. Jon’s not back when he needs him to be and he’ll just walk away saying, ‘Well I actually kind of won the title before I left, you just weren’t ready to fight’. Then it starts just causing a little bit of a haze over all that thing. Now I think that Stipe is not that guy, he would fight if he was 45 years old. The opportunity to fight Jon Jones and the amount of money he’s going to make fighting Jon Jones. I think the UFC, because Jon still has a little bit left in the tank, more so than Stipe, they’re really gonna try to get that fight to happen so they can say, ‘Well hey, Jon is now the greatest heavyweight of all time.’”
In addition to his age, Miocic has been criticized for his inactivity. The full-time firefighter has only competed once over the last three years, a knockout loss to the since-departed Francis Ngannou. Waiting for Jon Jones to return in mid-2024 — thanks to an injury “Bones” suffered in training camp — will keep Miocic inactive for at least another eight months.
Which is less time than Aspinall, 30, or Pavlovich, 31, will have to wait after UFC 295.