Who Is Stipe Miocic Fighting Next?

Stipe Miocic fighting Francis Ngannou

Stipe Miocic fights Francis Ngannou at UFC 220

Stipe Miocic gets no love despite continuing to make history. How could one of the premiere Mixed Martial Arts organizations in the world not promote one of their top fighters more?

Miocic will use that motivation to fuel him for his next fight.

The next fight: Miocic’s next fight takes place at UFC 226 in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday. He defends the UFC Heavyweight title against his next, and most unique, challenger, Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.

Stylistically, Cormier presents an entirely different challenge for Miocic. Miocic, an accomplished wrestler in his own right, faces an opponent in Cormier who — for the first time in several fights — has the ability to match his mat skills and IQ. Miocic’s raw strength and power, tools he brought in his previous fights, will be minimized going against a world class competitor and strategist like Cormier.

Cormier provides an interesting dynamic to this fight, as opposed to Miocic’s last challenger, Francis Ngannou, who lost by unanimous decision at UFC 220 in Boston, MA. The fight had its moments, but ultimately didn’t match the hype surrounding it. In that particular fight, Ngannou’s strengths were on full display, including his raw strength and ability to land strikes without even looking like he was breaking a sweat, but his weaknesses were revealed even more, most notably his lack of cardio, which Miocic exploited masterfully.

Cormier is no slouch when it comes to working on the ground. He was a two-time junior-college national champion at 197 pounds before transferring to Oklahoma State where he became an All-American. In his spare time, has coached on The Ultimate Fighter, provided color analysis for UFC broadcasts, and is now a high school coach. This past April, Cormier was officially named the Gilmour High School wrestling coach.

Miocic has his roots in both wrestling, a former Division I wrestler at Cleveland State, with a dash of boxing, and a mix of other popular childhood sports as well. He was a jock in high school, a three-sport letter winner, relentlessly playing baseball, football and wrestling around the clock. His family, especially his mother, were incredibly supportive of his athletic pursuits.

Miocic would later on frequent the Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center, where he started fine tuning his craft. At a younger age, he would out-box fighters several years older than him, impressing his coaches in the process. Once he began his MMA career, he quickly won the NAAFS Heavyweight Championship, and eventually signed with UFC in June 2011.

Since winning the heavyweight title by defeating Fabricio Werdum (possibly a top five heavyweight in MMA history) via first-round knockout (2:27) at UFC 198, Miocic has successfully defended the championship on three straight occasions, tying the UFC heavyweight record. Should he defeat Cormier on Saturday, the victory would literally, not figuratively, be one for the history books.

Miocic at -243 is currently the betting favorite against Cormier, according to Oddsshark.com.

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