Stipe Miocic may not be the most dynamic fighter who was ever in consideration for G.O.A.T. honors in his respective division. If we’re being honest, he’s not the most marketable one either.
But the part-time firefighter with the lunchpail mentality from Ohio simply finds a way to win over and over and over. Thirteen months removed from a surprising first-round title loss to Daniel Cormier,and left the Octagon a two-time heavyweight champion.
Miocic isn’t anywhere near the media darling that Cormier is, equipped to properly frame the true meaning of his legacy each time a microphone is placed in front of him. He also isn’t as skilled as DC overall on a pound-for-pound basis.
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Yet Miocic was successful last Saturday in the only manner he knows how, using the exact methods that helped him rise from contender to champion three years ago before securing a UFC record of three consecutive title defenses as a heavyweight.
Does Miocic have power and an intelligent boxing game? You bet. Can the 6-foot-4 slugger also wrestle just a bit to offset his greatest strength? No question about it. But Miocic has relied much more on his intangibles in some of his biggest wins, which include unparalleled toughness, a granite chin and an ability to right the ship just as it appears he is on the verge of being finished.
His redemptive victory over Cormier in their rematch was no different as Miocic rallied from a disastrous first round to outlast his more beloved opponent in a true war of attrition.
In that regard, Miocic is a truly special fighter and one whose cerebral game —to attack Cormier’s body which set up the violent knockout — can sometimes be overlooked. Not that you can necessarily blame anyone for having done so.
The truth is, the narrative coming out of UFC 241 could just as easily be centered upon how much Cormier’s decision to eschew his wrestling in order to walk in on Miocic repeatedly with his hands down meant DC’s pride and arrogance were as much a reason for Miocic’s win as anything he did to survive and outlast.
The fact that Miocic’s path toward G.O.A.T. status has often seen him not necessarily look the part as the greatest in the division’s history speaks just as much to his incredible resolve as it does to his lack of charisma and sensationalism. And honestly, that’s OK.
It’s also not something that keeps Miocic up at night either. Like he does when serving his community by fighting fires or assisting as a paramedic, Miocic shows up for work and figures out a way despite the danger in front of him to get the job done.
Men’s pound-for-pound rankings
Dropped out: Israel Adesanya
Just missed: Adesanya, Colby Covington, Yoel Romero, Tyron Woodley, Conor McGregor
Women’s pound-for-pound rankings
Dropped out: Rose Namajunas
Just missed: Namajunas, Joanna Jedrzeczyk, Tatiana Suarez, Michelle Waterson, Ketlen Viera