Don’t Be Surprised if Former UFC Champion Never Fights Again, Ariel Helwani Says

Ariel Helwani

Getty Ariel Helwani

According to UFC and combat sports insider Ariel Helwani, fans shouldn’t be surprised if former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic never fights again.

During a recent episode of Helwani’s “The MMA Hour,” the journalist said the anticipated match between Miocic and former UFC light heavyweight king Jon Jones won’t happen in December. Instead, Helwani reported that the UFC will likely try and match Jones with current heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou in March, leaving Miocic on ice.

And if that’s what happens, Helwani said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Miocic walks away from mixed martial arts without fighting again.

“I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this marks the end of Stipe’s career,” Helwani said. “Stipe is going to go off into the night very quietly. Stipe was never going to make a big hullabaloo, you know, maybe it’s a post or something like that. But, Stipe… pretty quiet guy, pretty private guy, likes his life, is a firefighter. He was not going to make a big deal about the end of his fighting career.”

Miocic, 40, last fought at UFC 260 when he lost his heavyweight strap to Ngannou via second-round knockout. Miocic is regarded by many as the greatest heavyweight in UFC history, beating the likes of Daniel Cormier, Ngannou, Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos.

He boasts a 20-4 professional mixed martial arts record.

Helwani Said UFC Gave a Half-Hearted Offer to Miocic to Fight Jones in December

Helwani then gave his take on the proposed matchup between Jones and Miocic. Although nothing has ever been official, Jones came out on Twitter multiple times to express his interest in fighting Miocic at UFC 282 on December 10.

Most recently, “Bones” tweeted on October 27: “I’m bringing all the heat
@Stipemiocic, I got that fire you could never put out. Sign the contract #Ufc282.”

But, with the card happening in just over a month, it’s likely the fight won’t happen. And according to Helwani, the UFC only made a half-hearted effort to schedule the contest.

“I think once they didn’t really come correct with an offer… and that’s really what happened here,” Helwani said. “It was like a ‘Hey, you wanna fight him, here’s the amount, take it or leave it.’ And he’s like ‘Uhhh.’ And then they just moved on.”

Helwani Didn’t Fully Close the Door on Miocic Fighting Again, Questioned Miocic’s Pay Motivation

Although Helwani said it “wouldn’t shock” him if Miocic retired, he also wouldn’t be surprised if Miocic fought again. However, Miocic may be opposed to fighting a top contender for less money than what he was making as the heavyweight king, the insider stated.

It was presumed that if Miocic and Jones fought in December, the interim strap would’ve been put up for grabs while “The Predator” recovers from knee surgery. Further, Miocic and Bones would have likely headlined the UFC 282 pay-per-view event, which could’ve meant extra pay for Miocic via pay-per-view points.

“So, I think now they’re going to try to make the fight against Ngannou in March, and if they do that, who is Stipe going to fight?” Helwani continued. “Is he going to be motivated to fight for way less money than he was making as champion to fight a Ciryl Gane or Curtis Blaydes? I can’t see it happening.

“So, wouldn’t shock me if we never see him again. Could he come back? Sure. Next week, great! But right now, wouldn’t shock me if we never see him again.”

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