On August 15th at UFC 252 the biggest heavyweight title fight of all time will take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, as Stipe Miocic defends his title against Daniel Cormier.
It will be the final bout in their trilogy, as well as the final fight of Cormier’s career, and will define who the greatest heavyweight of all time is according to Dana White.
It will be the third time the two have fought each other, with both having a knockout win over the other on their record. The first fight was in 2018, as Daniel Cormier moved up from 205lbs as the Light Heavyweight Champion and looked to become a double champion. After some exchanges and clinch attempts, Miocic was arguably on top. Cormier landed some nice hard shots though before the ending sequence. Cormier reached in for a clinch, took the underhook and then as they broke swung a perfect overhand right onto the chin of Miocic and followed up with three picture perfect shots to a grounded Stipe. The fight was over and DC was the greatest big-man the sport had ever seen.
In the rematch a year later, it was more of the same. Cormier opted to outwrestle the bigger man, and did so for three rounds. He was up on the scorecards, landing more damage and controlling positions. That was until Stipe landed a huge left hook to the body in the fourth round. The entire fight changed off that first body blow. He saw something in that landed shot and continued to let it rip at every possible opportunity. He hit the same spot so often that Cormier folded, before Miocic landed a one-two to the head as ‘DC’ dropped his hands to block the body off. Miocic compiled his misery by KO’ing Cormier against the cage to get his title back.
Neither fighter has fought since that rematch but the trilogy fight is now scheduled for UFC 252 in August.
I expect it to be a bit of a war, but Cormier will surely return to his wrestling roots. After he was knocked out in the rematch Cormier told UFC Unfiltered podcast that he strayed away from the game plan on the night because he “enjoyed punching Stipe in the face so much”. While it’s not hard to see why considering the success he had in the first fight and even much of the second fight, he surely won’t make the same mistake again.
He knows he has the power to put Miocic away on the feet but more importantly, he knows he can outwrestle the Cleveland native. If he gets carried away again on the feet, Miocic will surely put his lights out with his superior boxing skills. On the other hand, Miocic will know that DC’s game plan will completely revolve around wrestling this time around and he will need to be ready for that.
He’s not a stranger to wrestling, having previously dominated the powerhouse Francis Ngannou in their title fight with pure wrestling. He’s a NCAA Divison 1 wrestler for Cleveland state, so his wrestling is also at an extremely high level. If he uses his camp to work on defending against the Olympic level that Cormier possesses then it could be the reason he gets a win.
The fact that Cormier knows this is his last fight could go both ways too. It could go positively and fire him up to give every last drop of blood, sweat and tears to reclaiming the title and going down in history as the best big-man of all time. Or it could go the total opposite way. As Dana White always says, if you’re thinking about not being in there then you probably shouldn’t be in there. Miocic, as far as we are aware at the time of writing, has no such concerns. Win, lose or draw he will be back in the Octagon after this fight.
It’s sure to be a fantastic fight for everyone to watch and my instinct goes with AND NEW. Cormier’s wrestling advantage showed in the first fight and his confession about getting carried away tells me he knows that he messed up and let Stipe back into it. I think Cormier will outwrestle Stipe again but this time for the full five rounds for a decision win, riding off into the sunset of retirement as the UFC Heavyweight Champion of the World.