Champion Stipe Miocic out to carve own path in UFC

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight division has had a revolving door of titleholders since its inception in February of 1997, but Cleveland-based fighter Stipe Miocic is out to put a stop to that.

No reigning champion has ever won more than two consecutive bouts, and should Miocic retain the belt against Junior dos Santos in the main event of UFC 211 at American Airlines Center in Dallas Saturday, he would have two successful defenses to his credit.

“It’s going to happen, and I’m going to do it,” Miocic told WKYC. “I’m going to do it.

“No one’s every defended it more than twice, so after I defeat Junior dos Santos, I have a shot to do it. All I care about is JDS right now. After I do that, I’ll worry about that later. In the heavyweight division, anything can happen. It’s big bodies, big boys with little gloves on. It takes one shot. No matter how hard you hit, there’s a lot of weight behind a punch.”

Miocic won the UFC championship after delivering a right hand to Fabricio Werdum’s jaw in the main event of UFC 198 last May.

The former champion was chasing Miocic around the outer rim of The Octagon, and left his chin exposed. Despite backing away from Werdum’s pursuit, Miocic threw a powerful right hand that floored the champion.

Miocic added three shots to the downed Werdum before referee Dan Miragliotta called a stop to the bout at the 2:14 mark of the first round.

In his first title defense in the main event of UFC 203 last September, Miocic faced a difficult challenge from world-champion kickboxer Alistair Overeem, who had been a champion in every other mixed martial arts organization he ever fought in outside of the UFC.

Early in the first round, Miocic was pursuing Overeem when he got caught with a punch to the jaw and fell backwards. Overeem immediately jumped at the opportunity and put Miocic into a guillotine choke, but the champion kept his feet on the mat and circled his way out of the submission.

Then, later in the bout, Overeem attempted to throw a right leg kick when Miocic checked it and sent the challenger to the mat. After the takedown, Overeem pulled guard, but Miocic was not to be denied, as he postured up and landed a pair of right-handed hammer fists before throwing a left-right combination to Overeem’s face.

Following another left hand, Miocic landed four straight rights to Overeem’s jaw, knocking out the challenger and forcing the referee’s stoppage with just 33 seconds left in the first round.

“Onto the next,” Miocic said. “It’s business. I signed up for a reason. I want to fight. I’m not going to pick and choose who it is. I don’t care who it is. I’m going to beat him.

“I’m just going to go out there, do my job and come out of there, ‘And Still.’ Walk out of there with the belt. That’s what I do. I’m the champ. I’m the champ for a reason.”

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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