Stipe Miocic regains UFC heavyweight title, stops Cormier in the fourth round
When UFC 241 reached its main event, Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic closed the show in a four round thriller. Although it seemed to be a fight that champion Cormier was ahead on the judges score cards, it was Stipe Miocic who put the final stamp on a phenomenal event in Anaheim, California.
Cormier started the night off in usual fashion, his sprint to the cage while Lil Wayne’s “Right Above It” blared through the speakers inside the Honda Centre. After the first round it looked certain that it would be rinse and repeat for Cormier, attacking the legs of Miocic as well landing almost at will on the feet against the 6’3 Ohio native. Fans were treated to a patented Cormier slam and then played out the rest of the first round in complete control with some ground and pound.
In round two Miocic was the one who began to press forward and apply the pressure on the champion, finding success with crisp boxing but also displayed a give one to take one strategy. It seemed DC was finding his groove again until it appeared he poked Miocic’s eye, referee Herb Dean allowed the action to continue which somehow strangly worked in Stipe’s favor. Miocic began to find his range a lot more and grew in confidence throughout the round but Cormier was also finding a home for his punches throughout the round and had the better of the exchanges in the pocket with Miocic by landing the much cleaner strikes. A tough round to call in my opinion but most will say Cormier just edged it. Already the contest has been far more competitive than the first time both fighters squared off at UFC 226 in July of 2018.
Heading back to the centre of the octagon for the next five minutes of action, both fighters began to trade strikes with a back and forth in the pocket early on. Cormier set up the finish to the UFC 226 contest, landing that right hand out of clinch but Miocic’s durability played its part and found himself taking Cormier to the mat but could not maintain position and the action took place again on the feet. As the round looks to come to a close, DC again found himself landing some clean shots on Miocic’s chin, and as the story of this fight showed, Miocic held his own and saw out the round in again a tough round to a call but again at this point, we could be seeing Cormier three rounds to the good.
In the corner of Daniel Cormier, the instructions given to the heavyweight champion was to simply keep his hands up, and switch up the strikes, try to land the kicks and mix it up with his hands and take Miocic and put his back on the mat. Miocic spending more time on his back in this round would most likely see the fight slip away from him but that was not in the script for Stipe. A challenger wearing a battered face and beginning to tire, made sure he was not going to be denied this time around and once again pressed Cormier, keeping the champion on the back foot. Like the first contest, every time Miocic looked to throw leather at Cormier, it appeared to keep Cormier off balance while trying to avoid the shots directed his way. At the halfway point of the fourth round it became apparent Stipe Miocic gathered a second wind and beautifully began ripping Cormier to the body and then trying to find that sneaky left hook upstairs, most shots going upstairs would be unsuccessful. With DC appearing to fade, it was staggering to find Cormier wanting to keep the action on the feet and not utilize his Olympic level wrestling, almost similar to what we seen in the Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa contest earlier on in the night. Miocic refused to let up on this new strategy going in to the later rounds, he weathered the storm that is Daniel Cormier and continued bullying DC’s body and that would set up the beginning of the end. A stunning left hand to the body and a one-two up top landed flush and staggered Cormier, leaving him to fall back into the fence and that’s where we seen the killer instinct of Miocic, reigning down strikes to Cormier and that’s when Herb Dean stepped in to make it official that Stipe Miocic would now become a two time UFC heavyweight champion.
With this being Daniel Cormier’s first defeat at heavyweight, losing another title to a competitive rival, Cormier flirted with retirement with UFC emcee Joe Rogan during his post fight interview.
I leave these questions with you. What do you think is the next move for the former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion? Will Cormier make a return to the 205lbs division and seek a third fight with arch rival Jon Jones? Will Cormier be granted a rubber match with Miocic, with it being one a piece? Or is this the end of an amazing career inside the Octagon for Daniel Cormier?
And in return, does Stipe Miocic grant Cormier the rubber match for his next trip to the cage? Or will the two time champion square off against a rejuvenated Francis Ngannou in a rematch from UFC 220?
Let us know what you think is next for both competitors in the comments.