This weekend (Sat. August 17, 2019) we have an incredibly stacked card at UFC 241, finishing off the night with a heavyweight championship rematch between two of the best to ever do it. There has been much talk about who the best heavyweight in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA) is.
Many cling to Daniel Cormier now, and many believe it’s Stipe Miocic because of how many title defenses he had as champion. Many still believe Cain Velasquez or Fedor Emelianenko hold that crown. Regardless, after this weekend, chances are that most will believe it’s the winner of this fight.
Daniel Cormier (22-1) 1 NC vs. Stipe Miocic (18-3) II
Cormier has always been a special athlete, we’ve known that since his Strikeforce days; back when he tossed former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett around for five rounds just less than three years into his MMA career. He also defeated Jeff Monson and Soa Palelei, both dangerous guys with way more experience than him at the time. It was a sure thing he needed to be in the UFC. After winning the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, he had one more fight with Strikeforce before joining the UFC.
Miocic, on the other hand, we’ve always known he was kind of special too. He came to the UFC with a 6-0 record, just after winning the NAAFS heavyweight championship. After winning his first three fights in the UFC, he lost to the more experienced Stefan Struve via TKO. It’s a good thing that happened to him, however, because he came back better than ever. His striking was tightened up and he looked incredibly sharp in his following fights.
After winning the title from Fabricio Werdum, Miocic defended his title three times before being dethroned by Cormier, more than any heavyweight ever has to this day. Going into the fight with Cormier, many people didn’t think it was a good idea for ”DC.” Most thought he was too small for an elite heavyweight like Miocic, but he proved them all wrong and took that belt before the end of round one.
The question is, what did Miocic learn from that loss? Did he learn to defend himself on the break? Because that’s what derailed him in the end.. Miocic got caught with Cormier’s right hook as Cormier was breaking from the clinch. Did Miocic prepare for that this time around? That may have been the sole reason he lost. Cormier may be better, we’ll know this Saturday, but if he didn’t land that shot, it’s a wonder how that fight would’ve gone. That’s not to discredit Cormier, however. Cormier went in there and KO’d the heavyweight champion in the first round.
After seeing Miocic get a momentary takedown on Cormier, maybe he’ll try to do more of that this time around, or maybe he’ll just try and use his straight punches like he usually does to keep distance until he’s ready to throw harder and try to end it. That’s what Miocic’s game is, he uses a lot of straight punches in order to out-point his opponents, until he knocks them out, unless he’s trying to wrestle.
Cormier is a bit different, not only is he 5’11” with a 72.5” reach as opposed to Miocic’s 6’4” with a 80” reach, but Cormier likes to get in close and make it a dogfight. Kind of like what Henry Cejudo did to Marlon Moraes, just stay in his opponent’s face and throw punches in bunches until his opponent quits, or until he knocks them out.
Unless he’s fighting a guy like Anthony Johnson or Derrick Lewis, that’s what Cormier does. He throws a lot of hooks and uppercuts in close range, and in dirty boxing range. Not only that, Cormier literally always makes sure he has the advantage in the clinch, he always makes sure he is the one with underhooks and not his opponents.
The athleticism is quite extraordinary from both parties, but particularly Cormier’s. Yes, Miocic is also a gifted athlete, but he looks like someone you’d see as heavyweight champion of the world. The former Olympian doesn’t as much. Even like Jon Jones says, “it’s incredible the things that DC can do in there, given what he looks like and his body type, it doesn’t really make sense”.
We were supposed to get Daniel Cormier versus Brock Lesnar for a while there, or at least we were thinking that’s what we were getting. Lesnar milked the clock on that for quite a bit, then backed out. Now we have this great rematch to look forward to. We would’ve had to wait regardless anyways, as Cormier wasn’t healthy and had to rehab an injury.
Who wins this massive fight this weekend and walks home with the UFC heavyweight championship?