Tai Tuivasa wants to share the cage with the man widely considered the greatest heavyweight of all time.
Tuivasa, who stormed up the heavyweight rankings when he knocked out former title challenger Derrick Lewis at UFC 271, is looking to take a big step forward by facing former two-time UFC champion Stipe Miocic.
Having won his past five in a row all by knockout, Tuivasa (15-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) finds himself perhaps one win away from a title shot and sees Miocic (20-4 MMA, 14-4 UFC) as the perfect opponent.
“It’s definitely a fight that I think should be up next, or especially it’s the fight I want,” Tuivasa told MMA Junkie. “I think the other guys around the clock, I think we’re gonna be around for a few more years and out of respect, I think I would love to share the ring with him, and I think I’m up there for a chance of it, so why not? He’s a great fighter, someone I’ve watched for many years and someone I’d definitely love to challenge myself against.”
He continued, “I’m on a five-fight streak now, and now I’m No. 3 (in the UFC rankings). It’s not that hard. Stipe is in front and like I said, it’s somebody I’d love to challenge myself against, especially that it’s somebody that I’ve seen do his thing for many years. And, well, he’s still in front of me at the end of the day, someone I’d like to go against.”
Video: Is Tai Tuivasa UFC heavyweight title material after his KO of Derrick Lewis?
Tai Tuivasa says UFC 271 knockout of Derrick Lewis was ‘the passing of the torch’
Tuivasa turned around to face Lewis last month just four weeks after knocking out Augusto Sakai at UFC 269 in December. He’s currently back home in Australia and sees International Fight Week in July as a good time to throw down with Miocic.
“I think that was the timeline that we heard Stipe wants to have a fight in, so that kind of makes sense, as well,” Tuivasa said.
Just 28, Tuivasa is representing a new wave of heavyweight talent. After a hot start to his UFC career, the fan favorite found himself trying to snap a three-fight losing skid in 2019. Not only did Tuivasa do that, but he’s gone on an incredible run that has him in position to even call out the likes of Miocic without it being out of line.
“Even to say Stipe’s name, it kind of sounds a bit surreal sometimes even when I say it. But it’s like, I’m here,” Tuivasa said. “I’ve made it now. I’m up here with the best, and that’s who I want to get next. That’s pretty cool, but it’s time for some people to move out and some new people to move in.”