UFC 252 May Establish Greatest Heavyweight Fighter of All Time

Stipe Miocic & Daniel Cormier

Getty Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier get tangled during the third round during their UFC Heavyweight Title Bout at UFC 241 at Honda Center on August 17, 2019.

On Saturday, August 15, a heavyweight main event will take place which many are billing as the biggest title fight in UFC heavyweight history, and the fight could establish the greatest heavyweight of all time (GOAT). Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic will attempt to defend his title against a man he has fought two times before, former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel “DC” Cormier.

The two competitors met for the first time inside the Octagon in July 2018 during the main event of UFC 226. After more than four years at light heavyweight, DC made the move up and challenged Miocic, the reigning heavyweight champion at the time. DC, who was the reigning light heavyweight champion, defeated Miocic by first-round KO, becoming one of only a few fighters to hold two divisional championships at the same time.

UFC 252 takes place August 15 at 10 p.m. Eastern time at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. It will air as a pay-per-view on ESPN+.

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After Cormier defended the heavyweight strap against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230, Miocic challenged for the title he once called his own. In August 2019, DC and Miocic met in the main event of UFC 241. Miocic avenged his loss to Cormier and recaptured heavyweight gold by finishing DC in the fourth round by TKO.

Since that fight a year ago, the MMA community has been anticipating the trilogy match. They are 1-1 and the winner could become the heavyweight GOAT.

The GOAT conversation is always highly subjective and it is rare when there is a consensus among MMA fans. The heavyweight GOAT conversation is no different; however, the winner of UFC 252’s main event will bolster their claim to the status.

Miocic Holds the Record for Most Heavyweight Title Defenses in UFC History & Has Victories Over Some of the Best Heavyweights Ever

In terms of tenure in the UFC heavyweight division, DC is no match for Miocic. Miocic is a career heavyweight. He made his debut in the UFC as an undefeated 6-0 prospect in 2011 and it was a success, defeating Joey Beltran by unanimous decision.

He followed up that win with two more victories, a first-round knockout of Philip De Fries and a second-round TKO of Shane del Rosario. Miocic suffered his first professional setback at the hands of Stefan Struve in what was Miocic’s first-ever UFC main event, UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic. Miocic was finished by strikes in the second round.

He bounced back, however, winning his next three bouts over Roy Nelson, Gabriel Gonzaga and Fabio Maldonado. With that three-fight win streak, Miocic found himself in a main event fight with former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos.

The fight was a five-round war, and as history has it, dos Santos defeated Miocic by unanimous decision. The loss to dos Santos would be Miocic’s last defeat until his loss to DC. Miocic went on a career-defining run after the dos Santos defeat, winning six fights in a row along with the heavyweight strap.

Miocic defeated Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski to earn a title shot against then-champ Fabricio Werdum. He put the stamp on Werdum’s title reign, defeating the Brazilian by first-round KO. Miocic would go on to set the record for most heavyweight title defenses in UFC history, defending the belt against Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos and Francis Ngannou.

He then lost the belt to DC in his fourth title defense but reclaimed the championship in his rematch bout.

Should Miocic defeat Cormier on August 15, it would be very hard to deny his claim as the heavyweight GOAT. He would have two victories over DC, a fighter that many regard as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters ever. Miocic also has the most consecutive title defenses in UFC heavyweight history and his Hall of Fame record includes victories over many heavyweight legends, including several former champions and top contenders.

DC Fought for Years at Heavyweight Before Dropping to Light Heavyweight & Should He Defeat Miocic for a Second Time, He Could Be Proclaimed GOAT

Daniel Cormier 2018


UFC 252 will be only the sixth time Cormier has fought in the UFC heavyweight division, however he has had a long career fighting against the biggest fighters on the planet.

At first glance, it may be difficult for some fans to proclaim Cormier as GOAT since he would only have six UFC heavyweight fights, but with two potential victories over Miocic, he may be hard to deny.

All in all, DC has fought 16 times at heavyweight. He started his pro career in 2009 and fought 11 times in the weight division before getting into the UFC. Cormier mostly fought in Strikeforce and he was the final Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion. He defeated the likes of Josh Barnett, Antonio “Big Foot” Silva and Soa Palelei before earning a contract with the UFC.

In April 2013, DC made his promotional debut at 11-0 and defeated former heavyweight champ Frank Mir by unanimous decision. He followed up that victory by beating Roy Nelson. After his victory over “Big Country,” DC dropped down to the light heavyweight division where he would stay for the next four years.

During his light heavyweight run, Cormier defeated some of the biggest names in the UFC, including Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, Alexander Gustafsson, Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson. Although he fell short to Jon Jones twice, DC held the light heavyweight championship and defended the belt on three separate occasions.

DC then moved back up to heavyweight as the light heavyweight champ, earning his first victory over Stipe and defending the heavyweight strap against “The Black Beast” Derrick Lewis.

Should Cormier defeat Miocic on August 15, he will have a strong case to be crowned the heavyweight GOAT.

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Fedor Emelianenko , Cain Velasquez  & Fabricio Werdum Are Also Typically in the GOAT Conversation

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It’s almost time to go! #SM #AndStill

A post shared by Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) on Jul 10, 2020 at 1:40pm PDT

Cormier and Miocic aren’t the only two fighters mentioned in the GOAT conversation.

There will always be fans that claim Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest heavyweight ever. Although he has never stepped inside the Octagon, the Russian has long been one of the most dominant heavyweights in the world, holding a professional record of 39-6 with one no contest and earning victories over the likes of Frank Mir, Andrei Arlovski, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko Cro Crop.

Others may argue that at the height of his career, Cain Velasquez was the greatest to ever step inside the Octagon. From 2006 to 2013, Velasquez had only tasted defeat once, and that was to Junior dos Santos. However, Velasquez avenged his loss to dos Santos twice by brutally convincing fashion. He defended the heavyweight strap twice before losing to Fabricio Werdum in 2015 and he has victories over popular fighters including Brock Lesnar, Antonio “Big Foot” Silva and Travis Browne.

Another name that is frequently brought up in the GOAT conversation is Fabricio Werdum. The former UFC heavyweight champion has victories over both Emelianenko and Velasquez and he has compiled a pro record of 24-9-1.

With all these names in mind, after the UFC 252 main event ends on August 15, the heavyweight GOAT conversation may become clearer.

READ NEXT: UFC 252 Could Setup One of the Biggest Rematches in UFC History

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