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UFC 226 Fight Preview: Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier



What is the definition of a superfight? When it comes to a sport like mixed martial arts that by all means is still relatively new — the word gets thrown around all too often. But when it comes to two champions who have defended each of their belts three times and have also headlined more than a dozen UFC events between them, this isn’t just a superfight, it’s one of the most intriguing fights you can put on in the sport between two men who will forever line the proverbial history books.

Over time, the UFC heavyweight champion has been dubbed as the “Baddest Man on the Planet.” And while Miocic and Cormier certainly have been known to inflict their own respective brands of punishment on opponents inside of the Octagon, these are two of the nicest guys outside of the cage that you’ll ever find.

In Cormier, you have the consummate family man facing a guy in Miocic who spends his spare time fighting fires in Ohio. In a sport filled with trash talk and fake WWE like personas — Cormier and Miocic are a breath of fresh air at the highest level of the sport.

Stipe Miocic (-235)

UFC Record: 12-2
MMA Record: 18-2

Noteable Wins:
Junior dos Santos
Fabricio Werdum
Mark Hunt
Alistair Overeem
Andrei Arlovski
Francis Ngannou

Also of Note:
Most consecutive title defenses in Heavyweight history (3)
8x UFC bonus winner
Continues to work as a part-time fireman in Ohio despite being a World Champion

Daniel Cormier (+185)

UFC Record: 9-1
MMA Record: 20-1

Noteable Wins:
Anderson Silva
Alexander Gustafsson
Josh Barnett
Frank Mir
Dan Henderson

Also of Note:
3x defending and current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
2-time Olympian in freestyle wrestling
Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion
NCAA Division I All-American

The major story here is Cormier looking to join Conor McGregor as the 2nd man to hold two world titles simultaneously and just the fifth multi-division champ in UFC history. Cormier said that he feels disrespected by the oddsmakers for this fight. The line on him has dropped from as high as +210 to where it currently sits at +185, which means that respect from the bettors has been pouring in as we move closer to the fight — as it should.

Cormier is the more dominant wrestler and still remains undefeated at heavyweight, only having moved down to 205 lbs due to his friend and training partner, Cain Velasquez, either being champion or in the title picture. With Velasquez having been off the shelf since 2016 and Cormier promising to hang up his gloves early next year, tonight is his time to make history. All he has to do is get past the greatest heavyweight champion in the history of the division.

With LeBron James leaving town, Stipe Miocic can now be celebrated as everyone’s favorite Ohioan. Miocic is a fighter to celebrate — a local everyman who just so happens to hold KO victories over some of the best heavyweights to ever compete in this sport. He may not be the guy that the UFC brass wants as their champion — make no mistake about it, they even went as far as to help create Francis Ngannou at the UFC Performance Instiute while Dana White and Sean Shelby watched in white lab uniforms a la’ Eminem and Dr. Dre — yet he continues to get it done in outstanding fashion.

Every victory by Miocic is for the working class heroes who would much rather be punching their boss than punching the clock. If Miocic continues to win and becomes an even bigger star, it’s not because the corporate UFC machine got behind him, it’s because he truly is the baddest and nicest man on the planet.

Despite the odds heavily being in favor of Miocic, I consider this fight a pick ’em between two guys that I find it extremely difficult to root against. All we can root for here is that we get another International Fight Week classic where one of the good guys is guaranteed to win.

Gun to my head, I think Cormier gets it done tonight with his wrestling, frustrating the champ for the majority of the fight before shocking the MMA world by announcing his early retirement, only to return next year for a third and final battle with a returning Jon Jones.

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