Stipe Miocic returned to action last night (Saturday May 9th, 2015) with an impressive showing at UFC Fight Night 65. The Croatian-American faced Mark Hunt in the main event, and it was clear from the jump who was getting their hand raised at the end of the night.
Miocic simply had too much for “The Super Samoan”, as he landed a record-setting 361 strikes to Hunt’s 61, and made the hometown hero look a class below him. Now 13-2, the Ohio native will likely look forward to a big fight in his next booking.
The question is whether or not Stipe Miocic will ever be champion at heavyweight. The talent pool is about as deep as it’s been in recent years at the moment, with Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez at the top of the stack. The two will duke it out to decide the undisputed champion this summer, so who is left for Miocic to fight in the meantime?
The winner of Travis Brown vs Andrei Arlovski will likely be in with a great shout for a contender match, or maybe you think Miocic could get the next shot with his win over Hunt last night? “Hapa” was recently dominated by Fabricio Werdum, but is 8-2-1 for the UFC and could make a huge statement with a knockout against the streaking Arlovski.
The fact that the division is low in high-ranked opponents for Miocic means that his next fight will likely be a high-risk one, which is a tough spot to be in, but advantageous at the same time. Should his next fight be a dominant win, it wouldn’t be crazy to imagine Miocic being the next logical contender.
With Junior Dos Santos already having two crushing losses to Cain Velasquez in recent fights, he’ll probably struggle to justify another title shot right now, even if he eventually fights and beats Alistair Overeem. Perhaps a rematch with the unbooked ‘Cigano’ is on the cards?
The fact is, this is all assuming that Cain Velasquez beats Fabricio Werdum, how about if ‘Vai Cavalo’ overcomes the dominant champion? If Werdum wins, there is always his rematch with JDS to consider, as the two fought once at UFC 90, with Dos Santos winning by knockout.
Perhaps a bout with Velasquez if the Mexican loses his belt would be interesting, or maybe a move to 205 pounds would be possible if Miocic is unsuccessful next time out. If Daniel Cormier can do it, then a lean guy like Miocic should have no trouble at all.
The fact remains that everyone is beatable, and a talented wrestler/striker like Miocic is a very dangerous opponent for anyone. Dependant on whom JDS gets paired with next, we could well see the Croatian fighting for a title very soon.
Whether he can beat the champion, whoever that may be, is a matter of opinion. What’s yours?