UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic Makes History at UFC 220
With his dominating win over Francis Ngannou this past weekend, Stipe Miocic etched his name in the history books.
Updated: Jan. 21, 2018 • 9:06 PM ET
Stipe Miocic silenced all doubters on Saturday with a dominating victory.
Stipe Miocic made history Saturday night in Boston at UFC 220. With his unanimous decision victory over Francis Ngannou, Miocic firmly established his place as the best heavyweight on the planet.
Ngannou has been the most hyped heavyweight since Brock Lesnar emerged on the UFC scene in 2008. Despite Miocic being the defending champion, Ngannou entered Saturday’s fight as the favorite, largely due to his explosive punching power and intimidating physique. Few people believed Miocic could even eat a punch from the Cameroonian heavyweight.
In the first round, Ngannou landed more than a few of his signature bombs. However, to everyone’s surprise, Miocic absorbed the blows and continued to land shots. Once the champion weathered the early storm, he took total control of the fight and landed several power shots of his own. Miocic actually out-struck the challenger 200 to 33, and 70 to 21 in significant strikes. He also completed six takedowns, which gave him total control of the fight.
The fight was never really close. With the win, Miocic successfully defended the heavyweight belt for a UFC record third consecutive time, cementing himself as the “baddest man on the planet”. In Miocic’s post-fight press conference, the usually meek champion wasn’t hesitant when answering if he thinks he is the greatest heavyweight of all time.
“Fuck yeah I do,” Miocic said. “No one’s ever defended it three times. I had a killers row of fighters to get to it.
“I had a hard path to get to the title, and I had a hard path to defend the title. I had top dudes. I had to fight (Andrei) Arlovski, then I had to fight (Fabricio) Werdum in Brazil in front of 45,000 people, crazy. Next guy, (Alistair) Overeem, killer, K-1 champ, hits like a ton of bricks. Next guy, ‘JDS’ (Junior dos Santos), who I lost to. Then I get a guy that’s a phenom. Nothing’s ever easy. I know fighting ain’t easy, but I never had an easy road. Everything was hard.”
In the build-up to UFC 220 earlier this month on The MMA Hour, Miocic slightly agreed with the idea that the UFC wanted him to lose to Ngannou. The notion wasn’t a stretch, considering the significant amount of marketing and promotion the UFC put into the challenger. Miocic never let the idea break his focus, and he never looked past Ngannou at the record for title defenses.
“Well, now it means something to me,” Miocic said about the record. “I beat the guy that everyone thought I couldn’t beat, so it made it that much sweeter. ’This guy’s a phenom, he’s one in a million, blah, blah, blah.’
Well guess what? He lost. He lost to a Midwest bot that’s 40 pounds lighter than him. And I’m the greatest heavyweight. I defended it three times, no one’s ever done that.”
The win was Miocic’s sixth straight, improving his record to 18-2. The 35-year-old didn’t hint at who he might want or expects to fight next, but he did joyously announce in the Octagon after the fight that he and his wife are expecting a baby. Thus, fans can expect Miocic to take some much-needed time off before his next title defense.
Moving forward, it’s unlikely that we see the UFC create a new surge of hype or marketing push behind the champion. With Miocic, what you see is what you get, and that’s good enough because what he has done in the Octagon speaks for itself. Humbly, he’s a blue-collar firefighting champion and the greatest heavyweight of all time.