CLEVELAND -- Stipe Miocic is not much for talking, but the UFC heavyweight champion is confident he will be victorious in his title defense against Francis Ngannou in the main event of UFC 220 at TD Garden in Boston on January 20.
A win over Ngannou would give Miocic a record third consecutive defense of the heavyweight championship, and while it does not mean much to say that he has added another record to an already impressive resume, being called “champ” is something he has grown accustomed to over the last 20 months.
“I will break that record,” Miocic told WKYC.com in an exclusive interview before a recent sparring session.
PHOTOS: Stipe Miocic feels he will break UFC record with win over Francis Ngannou
A Euclid native and graduate of Eastlake North High School based out of Strong Style Gym in Independence, Miocic will go for a UFC record third consecutive defense of the heavyweight championship. He tied the record with a first-round knockout of Junior dos Santos at UFC 211 in Dallas on May 13.
Miocic avenged one of only two losses on his professional record with a knockout of dos Santos at the 2:24 mark of the first round in the main event of UFC 211: Miocic vs. Dos Santos 2 at the American Airlines Center.
Miocic finished off his fifth straight knockout victory by backing up dos Santos against the cage and flooring him with a right hand to the head.
After dos Santos fell to the canvas, Miocic swarmed the former champion and threw more than a dozen left-handed punches through the guard, and when those strikes went unanswered, referee Herb Dean called a stop to the bout.
Ngannou earned his shot at the heavyweight championship with a vicious first-round knockout of former top contender Alistair Overeem courtesy of a left hook that landed flush on the jaw in the co-main event of UFC 218 at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit on December 2.
Immediately following the fight against Overeem, Ngannou declared himself the true UFC heavyweight champion and thanked Miocic for holding onto the belt for him.
That did not sit well with the champion, who has been tweeting similar messages since that time, starting with the words “And Still.”
With the win over dos Santos, Miocic improved to 17-2 in his professional career, and 11-2 in his 13 bouts under the UFC banner. Ngannou is 11-1-0 in his professional MMA career and 6-0 since entering the UFC in 2015.
“He’s a big guy, tough, strong, hits hard,” Miocic said. “He’s going to throw regular punches, but if I just do what I do, I’ll be fine.
“I’m going to keep winning, keep shutting everyone up. That’s what I do. ‘And Still,’ nothing’s changed, and it won’t change.”