With UFC 252 around the corner, fans are preparing to crown the UFC’s greatest heavyweight of all-time when Stipe Miocic defends his title against Daniel Cormier.
The two have previously fought twice before, both winning via knockout against each other on one occasion each. Cormier won their first bout with a first round overhand right to become a double-champ, before Miocic made a comeback with a series of body shots in the fourth round a year later in the rematch to reclaim his crown.
Now a year on from the rematch, the trilogy is set and both fighters are adamant they have the other’s number. But for Cormier, there is more on the line than just the heavyweight title. If all goes as expected, this will be his last ever fight in the octagon.
Cormier has a professional record of 22-2 (1NC), his only defeats coming to Jon Jones and Miocic. He lost to Jones twice in reality, but one was overturned after Jones popped in a drugs test. That rivalry went in the bin after Jones’ head-kick solidified his position as the greatest light-heavyweight ever.
He dominated the division while Jones was away but when it came to the big dance, he never quite got it done. The he moved up to heavyweight and took out the king and seemed to have found his place in history. He beat Derrick Lewis in first defence, dominating with his wrestling before sinking in a rear-naked choke in the second round. Then in the rematch against Miocic in his second defence, he dominated for the first three rounds. He out-wrestled Stipe but afterwards revealed he got excited hunting for the knockout, which is when Miocic’s boxing took over and he ended up getting the knockout.
It’s easy to say that had he continued wrestling he’d have won again and this fight wouldn’t even be happening but Miocic has made a great point too. He’s been hit with cleaner, harder shots in the past – including from Cormier – and they haven’t put his lights out. That punch in the first fight was just one of those shots that was right on the button.
If Miocic comes into the second round fully prepared to wrestle, which is likely, and manages to keep the fight standing in some capacity for extended periods of time then he will have the advantage. Cormier likely won’t be able to land a punch from a standing position like he did in the first fight for a knockout like that.
If Cormier gets the win, he goes down as the greatest heavyweight of all time and one of the greatest mixed martial artists ever. Point blank period. If he loses though, he may always been seen as the guy who was just never good enough to beat the guys who were the best.