The UFC has done a lot more in the way of super fights since WME-IMG purchased the company a couple years back.
The prospect of having big names and big marquee fights over logical matchups based on rankings has rubbed some fans the wrong way. But the latest blockbuster clash will see two champions who have proven their skill against top contenders facing off to determine who is the best.
Current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is set to meet light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 226. The two will serve as coaches on season 27 of The Ultimate Fighter reality show leading up to the massive matchup.
Stipe Miocic versus Daniel Cormier is one of the most intriguing cross-division fights that the promotion has ever had. Not only is it alluring because of the current ranking of both participants, but because Cormier has found success at heavyweight in the past.
Though he’s spent his time in recent years cleaning out the 205-pound division and toppling top names like Alexander Gustafsson, Anthony Johnson, and most recently Volkan Oezdemir, he started his MMA career as a heavyweight.
Bringing Olympic wrestling skills that work well for a person with a compact frame, Cormier dispatched the likes of Antonio Silva and former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett before dropping down to light heavyweight. Cormier originally seemed to set his sights on this division since his larger teammate, Cain Velasquez, had set his focus on the heavyweight belt. Cormier went 13-0 as a heavyweight, and has only lost to Jon Jones at light heavyweight.
But even with Velasquez set to return next year and Cormier talking about retiring in 2019, it seems he will return to his old stomping grounds in hopes of becoming the fifth man (after Randy Couture, BJ Penn, Conor McGregor, and Georges St.-Pierre) to win UFC titles in two different weight classes.
Should Cormier defeat Miocic, he’d be only the second man in history (after Couture) to win both the heavyweight and light heavyweight titles. He’d also be the first man to hold both of them simultaneously.
But in order to do this, he’ll have to face off against the man some call the greatest heavyweight of all time. Miocic has been on a tear in recent years, scoring first-round knockouts of Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski, and Junior dos Santos.
Miocic’s most recent triumph was at UFC 220, the same event where Cormier defended his title successfully. Miocic took on highly hyped challenger Francis Ngannou, winning a unanimous decision and becoming the first man in the promotion’s history to defend the heavyweight title three times.
There was some tension after his win, as he snatched the belt from UFC president Dana White before he could put it on him. Miocic handed the title to his coach, letting him do the honors instead. Should Miocic defeat Cormier, he’d easily go down as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport’s history.