Stipe Miocic On Philip De Fries: “I Like Standing, He Doesn’t”
By Kelsey Mowatt
While many throught the MMA world will be focused on this Wednesday’s welterweight bout between accomplished vets Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez, the same UFC on FUEL card will also feature a noteworthy tilt between undefeated prospects Stipe Miocic and Philip De Fries.
In the case of Miocic, the 29 year-old-heavyweight will be looking to build on a successful Octagon debut in October, when he worked his way to unanimous decision over Joey Beltran at UFC 136. Although Miocic made good on the reputation that preceded his UFC arrival, the expectations that are tied to the fighter have continued to rise since.
“I take it in stride,” Miocic (7-0) told FCF, while discussing the attention that comes with being a heavyweight prospect. “It is what it is, but I’d rather be under the radar, keep winning and get better everyday. I just want to progress everyday. That’s all I want.”
In De Fries, Miocic will face another undefeated and rising heavyweight, who is also coming off a victorious UFC debut. In November, the 25 year-oldBritish fighter scored a UD win over Rob Broughton at UFC 138, to extend his overall record to 8-0.
“Well I was really excited to get the fight,” said Miocic. “I found out that he’s a good grappler, about 6’5, 240 to 250, and that he’s from the U..K.”
Since De Fries started fighting professionally in 2009, the Sunderland native has earned seven wins by submission, to help further his reputation as a ground specialist.
“He’s tough; he’s a purple belt so he definitely knows what he’s doing,” Miocic noted while evaluating De Fries’s abilities. “I’m going to have to be careful down there and try to implement my game plan during the fight.”
In contrast, Miocic, a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler and Golden Gloves champ, won his first five pro MMA bouts by either TKO or knockout.
“That’s the plan; hopefully it works out,” said the 6’4, 230lb plus Miocic, while conceding he hopes to keep the February 15th fight standing. “I’m going to do what I can to keep it standing, but if it does go to the ground, people will see what I can do as I train down there too.”
“I like standing, he doesn’t, he likes grappling,” Miocic added. “But where ever it goes, it goes.”
A win for Miocic Wednesday, live on a FUEL broadcast, could very well move the Ohio fighter into a bout with one of the heavyweight division’s more established vets.
“That’s a good question,” said Miocic, when asked where he hopes to be positioned rankings wise by the close of 2012. “I don’t really know. My expectations are to keep winning every fight, keep getting experience and keep getting better.”
Photo via NAAFS