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Matt Brown bashes critics still complaining about Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic

Stipe Miocic has made it crystal clear that he’s only interested in returning to fight Jon Jones, and all signs point toward that matchup finally happening in November.

Miocic also recently argued that he’s not holding up the heavyweight division because ultimately it’s up to UFC when it comes to whatever matchups get made.

The same goes for Jones, who actually caused the delay in the fight against Miocic after he suffered a torn pectoral muscle that’s kept him out of action for the past year. While he’s not decided on long term plans beyond that fight, Jones still steadfastly wants Miocic next, seeking to add arguably the greatest heavyweight in UFC history to his résumé.

Recently retired UFC welterweight Matt Brown really doesn’t understand the criticism aimed at the fight, especially given the accomplishments Jones and Miocic have in their respective careers.

“Things move to fast and people want to see the next big thing straight away,” Brown said on the latest episode of The Fighter vs. The Writer. “They’re two legends. They both deserve to fight each other. They both deserve that big fight. We’re all going to watch it if it happens. All the haters, all the blowback people, they’re all going to f*cking watch it. We’re all going to want to watch it. That’s who they should each be fighting. That is the right fight to make. It just happened to be taking way longer than it should be taking. It should have happened a year ago, but here we are.

“Let the two fight, let them have their legend fight. They’ve both done as much as anybody could imagine them doing in this sport. What else do you want? Let the guys go out on a legendary fight. Let them f*cking fight. Let them make some money. Hell, buy the pay-per-view to support them so they do make more money. Let’s move on. I think it’s an awesome thing. I think it’s a great thing. F*cking two great fighters, let them f*cking fight.”

Perhaps the biggest sticking point revolving around Miocic getting this opportunity is his extended layoff without a fight since 2021. To add to that, his last appearance ended in a vicious knockout at the hands of Francis Ngannou that cost him the UFC heavyweight title.

Of course, Miocic won’t be the first champion to get an immediate title shot off a loss.

While he hasn’t been out nearly as long, Israel Adesanya is about to receive that same opportunity after losing a lopsided fight to Sean Strickland. Adesanya is now set to face Dricus du Plessis for the middleweight belt at UFC 305 in August. There are numerous other examples of established past champions receiving special consideration like this.

As far as Miocic returning when he’s 42 years old, Brown thinks age would definitely matter more if Miocic was trying to win a title as a bantamweight, but that’s not the case here.

“Look, I’m 43, I know what it feels like to be 43. I feel as good as I ever have,” Brown said. “I’m just a lot bigger, but Stipe is a heavyweight so I think he’s going to be fine. How old was Randy Couture when he came back and won the title? Heavyweight is different. It’s not a speed game. It’s not as much of a reaction game.

“Now, Jon isn’t a slow guy, so Stipe is going to need his reactions as good as they can be, but it’s not the same game. If you’re a 135-, 145-, 155-pounder, being 43 years old is going to be a problem. You have to be quick. But when you’re a heavyweight, I don’t think it’s as big of a difference. If Stipe’s staying healthy, training, I think he’s going to put up a good fight and I think he’ll do great.”

Heavyweight has traditionally been the oldest division in the sport when it comes to the top tier fighters.

Out of the current top-15 UFC rankings, the youngest fighter on the list is Serghei Spivac at 29. He’s the only ranked heavyweight still in his 20s, with only a few younger than 35.

Time off might be the bigger concern for Miocic, but even that may not affect him the same way it would a fighter in a lighter division, because heavyweights only need one shot to land to completely alter the direction of fight. That’s exactly how Miocic reclaimed his heavyweight title after losing the majority of his rematch against Daniel Cormier before turning the tide in the later rounds and scoring a knockout.

“There’s just not the same speed and reaction thing [at heavyweight],” Brown said. “You don’t move the same. There’s not those same quick, jerky movements. I think they’ll be fine. I’d love to still see the fight. I don’t know where the hate’s coming from.”

Brown also disagrees with the idea that Jones is somehow sullying his reputation as champion by waiting for Miocic rather than facing interim champion Tom Aspinall or another ranked heavyweight instead.

Jones has said time and time again that he views Miocic as the kind of opponent that really adds to his already legendary résumé, whereas less established fighters just don’t carry the same weight because they haven’t done as much.

Like it or not, Brown understands Jones’ intentions, and he believes Jones has done enough to call a few shots this late in his career.

“I get it, people are complaining that Jon is not building his résumé at heavyweight,” Brown said. “I get Stipe’s been out for three years, but that’s not Jon’s goal. He’s stated it very clearly. He’s like, ‘I’ve already done it all.’ When he said it, you’ve got to believe what he said. I don’t remember his exact words, but it’s simply not his goal to make a run through the heavyweight division. He did it at 205. Did it for a long time. Did it very well. Now he’s doing legacy fights.

“To be fair, I would love to see him do all that. I’d love to see him do a run at heavyweight, but he doesn’t have to. He’s not going to go down in history as the greatest heavyweight champion. I think he’s basically already stated he’s fine with that. He’s going to go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest MMA fighter of all-time. He doesn’t have to do it heavyweight.”

Listen to new episodes of The Fighter vs. The Writer every Tuesday with audio only versions of the podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and iHeartRadio

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