Stipe Miocic Defended His Heavyweight Title Against Daniel Cormier At UFC 252

Stipe Miocic (20-3) earned a unanimous decision victory to retain the heavyweight championship against Daniel Cormier (22-3) at UFC 252 from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cormier came into his UFC 241 fight just under a year ago “ok” with the prospect of hanging up his gloves after defending the heavyweight title. A former light heavyweight and then-heavyweight champion, Cormier fully expected another win. Maybe not a knockout like the first fight, but he certainly didn’t anticipate how the fight would play out: Cormier would wear down as the fight went to the championship rounds and it was Miocic who targeted the champ’s body and forced a ref stoppage.

Months of verbal back-and-forth followed and Cormier was relentless in his need to “get that (loss) right.” He was confident that, given the opportunity, he could finish Miocic again. Booking the trilogy was complicated, as Miocic recovered from eye surgery stemming from a torn retina in his rematch with Cormier, then his gym was then closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But Saturday night, while that saga was put to an end, it also signified the end of the 41-year-old Cormier’s career.

The former Olympian has struggled with back issues, unable to wrestle in his last camp leading up to Cormier-Miocic II. He previously said he wanted to retire before he turned 40, but has continued kicking that timeline down the road to go out on his own terms. He said after his fight that he only wants to fight for titles, and with the next title fight likely going to Francis Ngannou, he called it quits.

As for the fight itself, Miocic found the jab in the first, changing levels between the midsection and Cormier’s head. Cormier took Miocic to the ground early in the round, but the champ immediately was able to get back to his feet. Back on their feet, the opponents traded shots and Cormier accidentally caught Miocic with a poke to the eye. After a quick stoppage, Miocic continued to chip away at Cormier’s body. At the end of the round, Cormier began to find his right hand, faking a takedown and exploding up with hooks to the head.

Midway through the second, Cormier continued to pepper Miocic after faking a takedown and unloading on a heavy combination. Miocic continued to mix things up, jabbing at Cormier and working the body. At the end of the round, Miocic caught Cormier with two right hooks, dropped him and peppered him with shots before the end of the round.

To open the third, Miocic continued to pour it on. Cormier locked up Miocic in the clinch and the champ walked him back to the cage, but Cormier appeared to have recovered just enough to get back in the fight. Toward the end of the round, Miocic caught Cormier with an eye poke that swelled his eye almost completely shut.

In the fouth, Cormier landed a handful of significant rights, while Miocic continued to lock him up and push him against the cage. Cormier and the champ traded big rights before heading to the fifth round.

Cormier and Miocic traded shots jab-for-jab to open the final round. Miocic and Cormier traded heavy combinations, throwing everything they have with just two minutes to go in the round. Miocic gained dominant position against the cage, opting to hold Cormier before peppering him with a body-head combo. Cormier stuffed a takedown attempt, but Miocic found his way to the cage yet again, holding Cormier and earning the label as the greatest heavyweight of all-time.