Daniel Cormier questions if Stipe Miocic can ‘still compete at that level’ vs. Jon Jones

Daniel Cormier believes Stipe Miocic’s layoff has been too long for him to come back against someone the caliber of Jon Jones.

Jones (27-1 MMA, 21-1 UFC), the UFC heavyweight champion, is insistent on rebooking his title fight against Miocic (20-4 MMA, 14-4 UFC) upon his return from injury. Jones was scheduled to face Miocic in the UFC 295 main event but withdrew after tearing his pectoral tendon. He also recently had surgery on his left elbow.

Not only does Cormier prefer Jones to fight interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall instead, he doubts Miocic will be in prime form against Jones. Miocic hasn’t competed since losing his heavyweight title by knockout to Francis Ngannou in March 2021.

“The toughest fight and the most meaningful fight in all of fighting right now is Jon Jones-Tom Aspinall,” Cormier said on his “Funky and the Champ” show with Ben Askren. “I don’t even know at this point if it should be Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic, and I like Stipe. Stipe’s a great guy, but at that age, with that much time off – look, I fought until I was 41, and I was relatively active before I had back surgery. I fought three times in 2018 when I was 39 years old because I was heathy.

“But to go that long without a fight, and the last fight being a brutal knockout, into a title fight with a guy like Jones? I don’t know. I don’t know what Stipe looks like today. For four years, he’s lived the life of a normal person. Sure, he may go to the gym and train, but Ben, because you’re in there wrestling with those kids every day, does that make you a competitive wrestler still? It doesn’t. Can Stipe still compete at that level, is the question.”

Jones was able to successfully return after more than three years away when he needed less than a round to submit Ciryl Gane and claim the vacant heavyweight belt at UFC 285 in March 2023.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie