UFC

Miocic going after Nogueira

Stipe Miocic knees 'Big Country' Roy Nelson
Stipe Miocic wants an opponent and his name is Gabriel Gonzaga.
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Mike Chiappetta

Mike Chiappetta has documented the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts since 2006 for news organizations including SB Nation, NBCSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, AOL and ESPN. He appears regularly as an analyst on countless television shows and radio programs, including CBS Radio and MMA Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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When we last heard from the camp of UFC heavyweight Stipe Miocic, they voiced a hope in fighting Travis Browne, but that possibility went as quickly as it came when Browne got matched with Josh Barnett for an event late in 2013. Surveying the current UFC landscape for an alternative option, Miocic has settled on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

On Wednesday’s edition of UFC Tonight, Ariel Helwani reported that Miocic’s manager Greg Kalikas is now angling to have his charge fight the Brazilian legend. Miocic (10-1) recently moved into the division’s rankings after defeating Roy Nelson. He’s currently slotted at No. 10.

(Note: Miocic/Nogueira starts at 01:37)

If it’s up Nogueira’s team, however, Miocic will have to look elsewhere yet again, as his manager Jorge Guimaraes told Helwani that they would prefer to have Big Nog fight Matt Mitrione, as long as “Meathead” can get past Brendan Schaub at Saturday’s UFC 165. Mitrione is considered a slight favorite in the main card bout.

The 37-year-old Nogueira, meanwhile, is coming off a submission loss to Fabricio Werdum in June.

So to review, Miocic wanted Browne but will settle for Nogueira. Big Nog would rather fight Mitrione, but he’s got his hands full this weekend. Given the rash of fight matchups over the last week, don’t expect UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to take long to figure this all out.

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