Despite his status as a main event fighter at UFC on Fuel 5 this weekend in England and being touted as one of the top rising heavyweights in the UFC, Stipe Miocic is still like a kid in the candy store right now.
The former Cleveland State wrestler carries an undefeated record through his pro fight career, not to mention three victories inside the Octagon, but regardless of his status, he’s like a big kid still soaking in the moment.
Miocic recently got his own signature walkout shirt for his upcoming fight against Stefan Struve, and admits when he got the call he was so excited that his girlfriend actually had to take the phone from him so he could pay attention and drive.
It’s that true appreciation of the moment that makes Miocic a rare breed in MMA these days. He’s loves every moment of every day that he gets to be a UFC fighter, and he never takes anything for granted.
It’s why Miocic, in only his fourth fight in the Octagon, is so appreciative of the opportunity to fight in the main event.
“They put me in a fight, it kept going my way and now I’m in a main event, can’t complain,” Miocic said.
For this event, Miocic will even have his dad in the audience who is coming in from Croatia to watch the show.
Miocic’s mom will also be making the trip to England, but she’s going more for moral support as she’s only seen one of his fights, and it was after it was already over and her son was victorious.
“She doesn’t want to see her baby boy get hurt,” Miocic said “Or watch me get punched in the face.”
Having his parents close by means a lot to Miocic, but on fight night he won’t be thinking about who is in the crowd watching him, only the 6’11″ Dutch fighter standing across the cage from him.
“I know it’s just me and him in the cage. That’s all I’ve got to worry about,” Miocic said recently on MMAWeekly Radio.
While there is no perfect way to prepare for a competitor as tall as Struve outside of hiring a semi-professional basketball team as sparring partners, the Ohio born heavyweight did what he could and even managed to work with a former UFC heavyweight champion along the way.
“I trained with Tim Sylvia a little bit, he’s about 6’9″ so that helped out a lot. It’s tough to find someone like that, but we worked up a good game plan for what we’re going to do. I’m real confident,” Miocic told MMAWeekly Radio before the fight.
The preparation is all done at this point and now it’s all about owning the stage he’s been given to perform on, and Stipe Miocic is ready to step up to the moment.
“I know I’m coming to fight, I know he’s coming to fight,” said Miocic. “So it’s going to be a fun night.”
To hear the entire interview with Stipe Miocic tune into Thursday’s edition of MMAWeekly Radio