Stipe Miocic has done something that no UFC heavyweight fighter has ever done before. Last night at UFC 220, Miocic took on Francis Ngannou for what would end up being his third straight title defense. While Miocic won in a landslide, the fight had its moments of excitement with Ngannou landing some big shots and not necessarily looking like he was out of his league the entire time. The Ohio native wound up winning the contest unanimously by a score of 50-44 — for those who may not be familiar, a score of 50 in a five round fight would mean Miocic won every single round.
What fans should be ecstatic about after this history-making victory by Miocic is the fact that the heavyweight division looks like it finally may have a true face once again. When he first won the title, and even defended it the first two times against Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos, many could have used the excuse that the two defenses were against guys who were past their primes.
Now, a guy like Ngannou, is a physical specimen. He was cutting it close having to get his weight down to 265 and still looked chiseled. He is a fighter who has not only won every single fight in his UFC career, but has ended every single one of those fights. Ngannou’s last two victories were against some notable names as well — the aforementioned Overeem as well as Andrei Arlovski. Before his fight against Miocic, he had been used to either a knockout or TKO in his favor when it was all said and done. So, for Miocic, this was no “gimme” of a fight.
In years past, the UFC’s heavyweight division has seen the likes of some legends. Tim Silvia, Cain Velasquez, Frank Mir, Brock Lesnar, Fabricio Werdum, the previously mentioned dos Santos, Overeem and Arlovski and, most notably, Randy Couture. Remember when a UFC fight night was one of the most anticipated events in months? It was because of names like this — among many others who have since retired. Now, with the sport being so saturated and fights being streamed across multiple platforms — not just Pay Per View — it has become somewhat of a vanilla talent group.
Think about it. Recent names like Conor McGregor, Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey have all become irrelevant for one reason or another. Those three are really the only fighters Dana White liked to promote more than usual and now they are gone. Who knows if any of them will ever fight in the organization again?
For White and the sport of mixed martial arts, Miocic is everything they need at the moment — someone they can not only promote, but who could hold the belt for a long time. He is a fighter that could give the world something to look forward to each and every time he steps into the octagon. “Is this the night the greatest heavyweight champion finally goes down?” is something you may begin to see in the near future.
After the fight, Miocic addressed the media and explained just how difficult of a fight it was Saturday night. He also made one thing clear — he’s the best.
“Not many people have been able to take a Francis Ngannou punch and really talk about the tale later on that night,” a reporter asked. “So, what was it like? Did it live up to the hype that everyone was giving it?”
“Oh he definitely hits hard. It’s the heavyweight division. Do you want to get hit by him?” Miocic responded in somewhat of a sarcastic manner.
“Now that you retained the title, had the performance you had tonight dominated Francis Ngannou tonight and you’re about to become a dad. What is it all like? It’s got to feel incredible,” Miocic was asked.
“Yeah it was the Stipe show tonight. It wasn’t about him it’s about me cause I’m the champ. I broke the record. I’m the best,” the champion fired back.
That’s what the UFC is missing — somebody who is talking the talk and walking the walk. They don’t need another Chael Sonnen — some average fighter with a mouth on him that can promote fights. Fans want a guy who backs it up, and Miocic is certainly doing so. One of the best parts about the champ is his love of everyday life, as he also explained at the post-fight press conference.
“Congratulations on the performance. You’ve spoken several times in the past and at a recent media day about enjoying the simplicity of your life, going back home to your lawn and you’re going to be a dad soon,” another reporter said. “Can you just talk about, obviously it’s an exciting time in your life, but the fact that you’re going to become a dad and going back to your life after this.”
“Oh yeah, I hope it snowed a lot. Get that snow plow… I’m so pumped. I’ve been thinking about it all week.” Miocic said. “Other than that, I’ve got a bunch of buddies coming over the next couple of weeks and move stuff around, and get the baby room set up. You know, have cameras everywhere because I’m a psycho… So no one touches my daughter and comes in and tries to rob my house. Even though I’m the baddest man on the planet, I’m a weirdo.”
Miocic may be a little cocky, come across as somewhat arrogant, but hey, that’s exactly how he should act when he’s currently the record holder for most heavyweight title defenses in UFC history. He is the best. He is the baddest man on the planet. He also has a sense of humor.
“Did you feel like, that as long as you got past the first round, that this thing for sure was yours for the taking?” he was asked.
“Listen man, I got the fighting spirit bro. It’s gonna take a lot more to take me out. Ford Escort, Ford F150, I don’t care,” Miocic responded.
Fans, your confident — yet kind of an average Joe — heavyweight champion has officially burst onto the scene and he doesn’t appear to be stopping now. Get ready for even more fireworks and snow plow jokes for years to come.