Finally healthy, Stipe Miocic will look to end something that is two+ years in the making. His ultimate goal is to prove he is the top heavyweight fighter in the UFC. Will he be able to rain on Daniel Cormier’s retirement fight?
“Unfortunately for him, it’s going to be me,” Miocic stated to MMA Fighting when it came to the status of the best heavyweight of all time.
Miocic (19-3) spoke with MMA Fighting regarding his UFC Heavyweight Title trilogy bout against Cormier at UFC 252 this Saturday, August 15. He broke down the 25 minutes the two have spent in the octagon with one another, and how Cormier’s relentless pursuit for a win and gold is something he can understand and get behind.
“He’s a great fighter,” Miocic said. “That guy keeps coming, he doesn’t stop. There’s a reason he’s at the top. He’s a hell of a fighter. He’s going to bring it again here on Saturday. I’m ready for it.”
Miocic made his MMA debut in 2010. A firefighter, Miocic first fought in the UFC in 2011. He 13-3 with the promotion, beating Fabricio Werdum in 2016 for the UFC Heavyweight Title. The 37-year-old defended it three times before losing it to Cormier at UFC 226 in 2018. Slamming him down, Cormier would not stop tagging Miocic until the referee called off the fight.
In the rematch a year later at UFC 241, it appeared as if Cormier was going to do it again. Miocic dug deep, however, and would attack the face and gut of Cormier. He would end up winning via TKO, regaining his title.
“I felt like, especially with the rematch, I got off to a slow start until the third round when I started moving around,” Miocic went on to say regarding the rematch. “I think that’s the first time I’ve ever started that slow in a fight, but I still finished it. Hopefully I keep it that way. You learn a lot. Just don’t be an idiot and don’t start slow.
“I just do what I do and remember everything we’ve been doing and just fight like every fight. Keep my hands up and everything my coaches have been planning over the past 10 weeks, I think I’ll be fine. I think if I do what I do and go after him, I’ll be fine.”
After the fight, Miocic suffered retinal damage, forcing him out of action. When it seemed like he would be able to return, COVID-19 starting affecting the United States. He ended up staying in Cleveland and continued to volunteer at the station.
While he had limited access to gyms, Miocic was able to train as hard as he could. Cormier has teased using his wrestling game, something that resulted in him being an All-American. Looking to avoid all parts of his game, Miocic appears to be ready for whatever comes towards him.
“I’m confident,” Miocic said. “We worked on it, we worked on everything, we worked on every aspect of MMA. We worked on standing, we worked on the ground, we worked on wrestling, worked on jiu-jitsu, worked on boxing, kickboxing, we’re doing everything.
“We’re going to be ready for it. If he takes me down, I’ll get right back up.”
UFC 252 will be taking place inside the UFC’s APEX Center. The action will air on ESPN+.