Former champion Stipe Miocic is looking like the top choice for Jon Jones’ debut opponent at heavyweight. And while nothing is set in stone, many observers are already looking at possible outcomes.
Number four-ranked contender Curtis Blaydes, for one, says the fight can go either way but sees Miocic ending up victorious.
“I think the educated MMA fans understand this fight is legitimately a pick ‘em. It could go either way,” Blaydes said recently on MMAFighting.com’s The Fighter vs. The Writer.
“Jon, he hasn’t shown that one-punch knockout power. What he has shown, he is extremely creative. He’ll hit you with elbows, knees, teeps, all types of different stuff. Even on the ground, he’s aggressive. He’s looking for submissions. He’s looking to drop elbows. He brings a lot to the table, but the biggest thing he doesn’t have is the power. I think that’s always the equalizer.
“I would pick Stipe to win this,” he continued. Just because he’s been in five-round heavyweight fights multiple times and he’s shown one-punch power when he knocked out Fabricio [Werdum] when he knocked out Alistair [Overeem]. I know that wasn’t one punch, but it was one punch that set up the finish.
“He’s already shown that and he has the wrestling, he has the conditioning. I just believe he’s a smart enough fighter, he’ll be able to figure out Jon after two or three rounds. He’ll start to land. His punches are going to hurt more than the punches of a Jon Jones. That’s just what I think. I think it could go either way.”
Blaydes also looked at the possibility of Miocic being in a compromising position he isn’t seen much in.
“What if Jon Jones comes out and takes down Stipe and he’s on top?” he said. “We haven’t seen Stipe on bottom. I guess we have against [Daniel Cormier], but the dimensions of ‘DC’ vs. Jon Jones are different. He’s a different guy.
“I think it’s going to be interesting. I would pick Stipe, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he lost either.”
Blaydes (16-3, 1 NC) will look to extend his current two-fight win streak when he faces Tom Aspinall this weekend in London.