Stipe Miocic isn’t changing his approach to being heavyweight champion after scoring the biggest win of his career against Daniel Cormier at UFC 252.
Miocic (20-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) concluded his storied trilogy with Cormier (22-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) in Saturday’s headliner at UFC Apex in Las Vegas on the triumphant end, taking a unanimous decision to defend his heavyweight belt after the pair split results in the first two bouts.
UFC president Dana White said prior to the event that the contest would determine the greatest heavyweight in MMA history. Miocic is proud to hold that label, he said, but the credit goes to his support system.
“Listen, I’ve done a lot. It wasn’t just me, though,” Miocic told reporters, including MMA Junkie, post-fight at UFC 252. “It was my coaches, my wife, my amazing family, my friends. They always supported me and backed me up no matter what. I miss a lot of fun stuff, especially family stuff. It kills me inside missing a lot of stuff like that. It kills me.
“The graduation parties, the baptisms. I couldn’t go. It would kill me, but the best part is no one ever judged me. They always supported me and understood what I’m doing. If it wasn’t for the people around me that I surrounded myself with and my amazing family and my friends and my coaches and my teammates, I wouldn’t be here.”
Miocic was knocked out by Cormier in the first meeting in 2018. He scored a comeback knockout win of his own in the rematch in 2019. Miocic was consistent for all five rounds in the third encounter, and he said a strong start was key.
“(The key to success was) not start like an idiot,” Miocic said. “I actually started pretty good at the beginning of the fight. He took me down, but I got back up, and I was happy about it. He caught me off guard with a good front headlock. I wasn’t worried about it. He did good. He’s a good fighter and made me second-guess myself, so I had to make him self-guess himself.”
Following Miocic’s win, White assigned Francis Ngannou as the next contender. Miocic holds a January 2018 win over “The Predator,” but Ngannou has stormed back with a 4-1 record, including four straight first-round knockouts. UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones also made noise about a potential jump up post-fight.
Miocic, in classic fashion, did not lean any which way. He said staying on top is the priority, and he will take on all comers.
“I’ll fight anyone,” Miocic said. “I don’t care. I love what I do.”