Stipe Miocic believes that he missed out on a UFC heavyweight title fight due to the fact that he is not popular enough.
Instead of facing champion Fabricio Werdum, who will have a rematch against Cain Velasquez, Miocic will be fighting Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 76 in Ireland next month.
The 33-year-old believes that it's not his fighting pedigree, but rather his popularity – or lack there of – which sees him fall down the card.
"I'm just not popular enough. That's what it is," Miocic told Submission Radio. "[The UFC brass] go off popularity and what the fans want. Apparently the fans didn't want to see me fight…I need to get more popular."
Miocic admitted that he doesn't know what will make him more popular, but said that he will continue to beat opponents until he is finally given the title opportunity he feels he so sorely deserves.
"I don't know," he said. "I mean it must be like a high school thing, you know? I mean it is what it is, man. I mean that's pretty much what it was. So, I mean, I gotta go out there and keep beating ass."
With regards to his fight against Rothwell, Miocic acknowledged that the 33-year-old is a good fighter, but added that he should have no problem defeating him on October 24.
"He's a tough guy…he's fought the best in the world," Miocic said. "But he hasn't seen anything like me. Anywhere it goes I'm going to be all right, and I'll be the more dominant fighter. So, I'm not worried about it. I just got to do what I do. I'm going to win that fight on Oct. 24."