3 things we learned from the UFC 260 press conference

Here’s what we learned at the UFC 260 press conference, featuring Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou

Promoted by the UFC as the “biggest, baddest rematch,” arguably the greatest heavyweight to ever step inside the Octagon, Stipe Miocic, will look to defend his belt against one of the scariest knockout artists in the game, Francis Ngannou, in the main event of UFC 260.

Before they get to make the walk to the Octagon, however, both men took part in a press conference for the card alongside UFC President Dana White on March 25.

Here’s what we learned.

3 things we can take away from Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou at the UFC 260 press conference

1. Francis Ngannou didn’t recognize himself in the first title fight with Stipe Miocic

Miocic and Ngannou first collided with the title on the line at UFC 220 in January 2018. In spite of Ngannou’s surge up the heavyweight rankings through his sheer power and scary, brutal, highlight finishes, Miocic used his grappling and wrestling to neutralize Ngannou. Miocic completely outclassed Ngannou en route to a unanimous decision and a successful title defense.

When asked about that first meeting in the cage and what he took away from it, Ngannou stated that he hates watching that first fight with Miocic back because he didn’t act like he normally does or should.

“The way I was moving, the way I rushing in. It’s like that guy looks like me, but I don’t even recognize him,” Ngannou said. “I didn’t even feel any emotion…This time will be different. Me and my team have nailed down what I got to do right.”

Ngannou stated he’s happy to get the chance to avenge the poor performance and prove his own greatness, adding, “I might be 34 years old, but I believe I’m young in this sport.”

2. Stipe Miocic humble about GOAT status, wasn’t aware of the UFC records he holds

Since first winning the UFC heavyweight championship by knocking out Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198 in 2016, Miocic has made his case of being the greatest heavyweight fighter in UFC history, if not in all of MMA. Many in the MMA community certainly feel he is, as does White.

Prior to the first fight with Ngannou, Miocic earned successful title defenses over Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos. Then there was the epic trilogy with Daniel Cormier, in which Miocic lost the belt at UFC 226, regained it at UFC 241 and retained it in Cormier’s retirement fight at UFC 252.

During his time in the Octagon, Miocic has scored a few different UFC records, including the most consecutive defenses of the heavyweight title (three), most defenses overall of the heavyweight title (four), most post-fight bonuses in UFC heavyweight history (nine) and most strikes landed in a fight (361 vs. Mark Hunt in 2015).

What’s funny is that Miocic didn’t know of some of these accomplishments until the UFC president read them off to him at the press conference table.

Miocic, however, says none of what he’s done in his career could have been done without the support and help of his team.

“It means my coaching staff is doing something right,” Miocic said. “It’s not just me, it’s my team. We sacrifice so much to get here. We’re not stopping.”

3. Dana White calls Dustin Poirier “smart” for picking Conor McGregor trilogy over lightweight title fight

Outside of the big heavyweight title fight, White also answered questions regarding some of the other news, storylines and rumors surrounding the UFC. Perhaps the biggest of them all is the lightweight title picture, with Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira set to square off for the belt in May following the confirmation of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement.

The pairing was one that took a bit of the MMA community by surprise, with many feeling Dustin Poirier was going to be in line for the belt following his second-round TKO win over Conor McGregor at UFC 257.

But White confirmed that Poirier opted to go for a trilogy bout with McGregor over a fight to determine the next 155-pound champion — a move that White praised.

“Dustin wants the rematch. Smart,” White said. “That’s what he should do. The kid’s worked his whole life to be in this position, and that’s the fight you take. We’ve seen others not take it and it’s the biggest mistake of their lives.”

White added that Poirier vs. McGregor 3 could likely take place in the summer, possibly in July.

In spite of being on the outside looking in of these match-ups, Justin Gaethje is still in a great position in the title hunt, according to White. White claims Gaethje could be next in line for the belt depending upon how both Poirier vs. McGregor 3 and Chandler vs. Oliveira play out.

UFC 260 takes place on Saturday, March 27, 2021, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.

Published at Thu, 25 Mar 2021 22:59:20 +0000

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