Stipe Miocic is taking his knockout loss to Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 this weekend in stride.
The former two-time UFC heavyweight champion posted on Instagram, in part, that he was disappointed with the loss but that it was a part of the sport:
"To my family friends and fans, especially Croatia and Cleveland... I love you and I'm sorry. I hate letting you down. To my team, thank you. I know you feel every loss just as much as I do. We win as a family, we lose as a family. Losses aren't fun, they always sting for a while, but that's the beast of this business. You can't win them all, and it's important to understand that losing is just as much a part of sports (and life) as winning."
Miocic added that he "deviated" from his game plan against Ngannou and went after him "overzealous and unprotected" when he felt his opponent was winded. That allowed Ngannou to catch him with a second-round knockout punch.
Miocic, 38, is now 1-1 against Ngannou after beating him at UFC 220 in 2018, the third of his title defenses after beating Fabricio Werdum to win the title at UFC 198 in 2016. Miocic then lost his belt to Daniel Cormier at UFC 226 later in 2018, only to beat Cormier a year later and regain the title.
He finished his trilogy with Cormier at UFC 252 in August, beating him a second time for the first defense of his second heavyweight title reign.
It seems like that a trilogy with Ngannou will be held at some point, though when remains to be seen. Ngannou, for what it's worth, believes Jon Jones wants a shot at the champion.
"I believe that Jon Jones wants this fight," he told TMZ Sports. "I believe he'll want it to happen because it's gonna be a massive fight."
He continued: "He's been around so long and been champ for a long time so I think this might be the biggest fight of his career and mine. I think he wants to put something like this on his legacy, on his resume. I truly believe that he wants this fight to happen."
It would appear that Jones—currently in a staredown with the UFC over a contract dispute—wants the fight too:
So if there is a Miocic and Ngannou trilogy finale, it likely will come down the line.