Daniel Cormier will defend his heavyweight championship and MMA legacy against one of the all-time greats, Stipe Miocic, at UFC 241 on August 17 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. (which you can watch on ESPN+). Elsewhere on the main card, Nate Diaz will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon against Anthony Pettis, while Yoel Romero will end months of waiting when he steps into the cage against Paulo Costa.
Before the various fighters take center stage during one of the biggest shows of the year, we’re here to preview the biggest fights and best stories on the UFC 241 card.
Daniel Cormier Awaits Potential Jon Jones Showdown
With eyes on a potential retirement tilt against Jon Jones, Cormier must first survive a highly-anticipated rematch against another UFC titan. Miocic seemed to be just fine through the first half of their fight last July, grappling with Cormier, landing a handful of shots and halting any takedown attempts. But it only took one shot for Cormier to end Miocic’s night, a strike the former champ contends was a “fluke.”
Now, the record-holder in heavyweight title defenses has the opportunity to ruin Cormier’s unblemished record (aside from, of course, one loss to Jones). He’s been confident in the build to this fight and certainly is ready to show the world he’s ready to get back on top.
Cormier, however, seems well-suited fighting up at heavyweight, as he looked massive in their first bout. There’s no question the champ is going to be ready to take the sequel to the ground early. It’s going to come down to just how long Miocic can hold him off.
Expect Fireworks Between Two Fan Favorites
Diaz hasn’t fought in nearly three years, but Pettis won’t think about taking the black belt lightly. Diaz returns after two impressive fights against Conor McGregor, where he put on full display his ability to exchange strikes on his feet or on the ground. We’ve missed his brash personality and showboating ways in the middle of a fight, and he’ll look to get back to his winning ways against Pettis.
“Showtime” is coming off one of his biggest wins in recent memory, becoming the first fighter to knock out Stephen Thompson. With his only losses coming at the hands of current champions or No. 1 contenders Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier and Tony Ferguson in his last six fights, Pettis can stake a claim into the welterweight title race with a win over Diaz.
Four Times A Charm For Romero-Costa
Romero’s fight with Costa was canceled three times over the past 10 months, but it finally looks like the two middleweight contenders will have a chance to throw hands inside the Octagon.
Costa is absurdly fast, throwing stinging kicks to the legs and body, and following it up with a flurry of heavy-handed punches. The unbeaten rising middleweight is coming off two of the most impressive wins of his career, earning knockouts against former contenders Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall in the second round. But if Costa wants to move to 13-0, he’ll have to get past Romero, who’s only been knocked out once in his career.
Romero is arguably the strongest opponent Costa has fought, matching him punch for punch with speed, precision and unreal power. The middleweight title contender has had issues making weight in each of his two contests, canceling out the opportunity for him to win the championship both times. Assuming Romero can make weight, this bout looks like it could be a quick one with both fighters looking to put their opponent to sleep early.