If you’re wondering how an upcoming championship bout might go, one that was tabbed upon being booked earlier this year as the division’s “biggest title fight in history”, and you happen to have the chance to ask one of its principal participants about the matter, then that’s exactly the thing to do.
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+.
Here’s a look at the full card for UFC 252, along with exactly what Miocic is thinking about heading into this history-making rubber match.
UFC 252 Fight Card, Location and How to Watch
What: UFC 252: Miocic vs. Cormier 3
When: August 15
Where: UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Time: 10:00 pm ET (Main Card PPV), 8:00 pm ET (ESPN+ Prelims), 7:00 pm ET (ESPN+ Early Prelims)
How to Watch: ESPN+ pay-per-view
The card listed below is subject to change.
UFC 252 Main Card (ESPN+ PPV)
Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier
Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera
Junior dos Santos vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
John Dodson vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Herbert Burns vs. Daniel Pineda
Prelims (ESPN) and Early Prelims (ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass)
Jim Miller vs. Vinc Pichel
Ashley Yoder vs. Livinha Souza
Chris Daukaus vs. Parker Porter
Felice Herrig vs. Virna Jandiroba
TJ Brown vs. Danny Chavez
Miocic Explains First-Round Knockout Loss to Cormier
Miocic didn’t shy away from discussing his first-round stoppage loss to Cormier at UFC 226 in July 2018.
The stunning win made Cormier the second-ever UFC “champ champ” and handed Miocic his first loss in almost four years.
But Miocic revealed the knockout was less about Cormier being better than him and more about the then 205-pound champion catching him with a perfect punch.
“I felt confident in the first fight,” Miocic explained. “I felt good. I felt like I was landing punches and doing a lot. It’s just that he caught me with a punch I didn’t see. It’s the fight game. Anything can happen. He just caught me with a good punch.”
Still, Miocic said he wasn’t worried about Cormier’s power headed into the second fight, and he wasn’t going to be worried about it in the third fight either.
“Listen, he hits hard but I’ve been hit way harder,” Miocic said. “It was right on the button, and I didn’t see it.”
Miocic basically believes that his stoppage loss was just something that can happen in combat sports. He stopped short of calling it a lucky punch but asserted his confidence never waned after getting clipped in the fight two years ago.
You can watch or rewatch the entire first Miocic vs. Cormier fight from 2018 below.
Miocic Reviews Fourth-Round Stoppage Win in Rematch
“I woke up.”
That’s how Miocic described what happened in the rematch with Cormier at UFC 242 in August 2019.
“It only took me three rounds, but whatever,” Miocic added with a laugh.
Truthfully, the second fight was more in line with what most people expected to see when the two champions battled the first time the year prior.
While Cormier is a certain Hall of Famer and decorated world champion in his own right, Miocic is also considered to be one of the most accomplished fighters in UFC history.
But thanks to the first-round knockout Cormier delivered in the first fight, fans didn’t really get to see what makes both fighters so special when the two faced each other in 2018.
In the rematch, that changed. The early rounds showed the aptness and quality of Cormier’s wrestling skills combined with his clever craftiness. But as the fight wore on it was clear that Miocic was also a stalwart competitor who wouldn’t be denied UFC gold.
What Miocic remembers most about the second fight was his sluggish start.
“I usually don’t start so slow in a fight,” Miocic said. “It was terrible. I was so mad about that. I started so slow and it took me a while to get moving.”
But things changed dramatically after the first 15 minutes of the fight. By the fourth round, two things began to become crystal clear.
First, Miocic was tremendously resilient. No matter how many punches he ate or scrambles back to his feet he had to endure, Miocic consistently displayed in the rematch that he was one tough dude.
But the other thing that became clear was Miocic’s power. Late in the fight, it turned out to be the difference after both fighters had become achingly tired.
“But in the fourth round, I saw an opening and I had to take it to see what happens,” Miocic said.
That opening, of course, was the one the fighter found in the fourth round for the hellacious left hooks to the body Miocic used to break down and ultimately stop Cormier to regain his UFC heavyweight championship.
Miocic said he knew it was a special punch just as soon as he landed one at full force.
“I work on them all the time,” Miocic said. “After I landed the first one, I know I had something because I saw him wince. I knew I had to go back there.”
And that’s what Miocic did. Over and over and over again, Miocic mixed those devastating punches to the body into the rest of his top-shelf boxing arsenal until a barrage of punches finally sent his rival down into a crumbling heap of defeat.
“It worked out well,” Miocic said.
You can watch or rewatch the full second Miocic vs. Cormier fight below.
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Miocic’s Massive Future Plans Rest on Beating Cormier at UFC 252
Obviously, Miocic wouldn’t divulge to Heavy his secret gameplan for defeating Cormier at UFC 252. He’s not trying to make things harder on himself.
But the champ did say he planned to limit Cormier’s dirty boxing tactics in close range more like he did in the second fight and that he hopes to get off to a faster start this time around than he did in either fight.
Moreover, unlike Cormier, who basically told anyone and everyone who would listen over the last few months that this would be his final UFC fight, Miocic still believes he has some huge opportunities ahead of him in his career.
“After I win, I will continue to be the heavyweight champion of the world,” Miocic said.
Probably the biggest name on his list of potential options is UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Next up would be a rematch against the division’s clear No. 1 contender and super freak knockout artist Francis Ngannou.
Miocic told Heavy that he’s excited about both those potential matchups, and all the other intriguing and important options out there, too.
“There are plenty,” Miocic said.
But that list gets way shorter and a lot less lucrative for the champ if he ends up losing his title belt to Cormier at UFC 252.
That’s just how the business works, so Miocic knows he can’t let that happen at UFC 252.
The champ would seem to be in the right place about the matter.
Miocic said he knows what he did wrong in the first fight, what he did right in the second one, and how he plans to meld those two ideas together into a perfect performance for the third.
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