CLEVELAND — Since losing the UFC heavyweight championship to Daniel Cormier last July, Cleveland’s Stipe Miocic has been pining for a rematch, but to this point, no return bout has been scheduled…at least not yet.
Asked about the state of the heavyweight division at a press conference prior to UFC 236 in Atlanta Saturday, president Dana White said a bout between Cormier and Miocic could come to fruition should Brock Lesnar remain retired from MMA competition.
“Seriously, that fight isn’t even in the works,” White said of Cormier-Lesnar. “That might not even happen first. Nothing happened, we haven’t even talked to Brock. I don’t know if he’ll fight again, but we don’t have a date for him right now. First fight might be Stipe.”
Cormier has been angling for a fight with Lesnar since moments after becoming the heavyweight champion in the main event of UFC 226 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas last summer, and made that point emphatically when talking with TMZ.
“It’s the fight,” Cormier said. “That’s the fight that needs to happen. Dana, get on the phone right now. If you haven’t called him yet, do it today. What are you waiting for?! Get this s--- on the books.”
While waiting for the Lesnar fight to come to fruition, Cormier has received a healthy amount of criticism on social media for denying Miocic a rematch.
In a Twitter rant in February, Cormier answered the question of “Why I’m not fighting Stipe Miocic again?”
“Reason 1: he’s being entitled, why have I fought since and he hasn’t. He lost the fight. Is he still the champ?” Cormier tweeted. “Reason 2: I’m hurt. Reason 3: How do I do it better? I beat him in a round last time.”
Earlier that day, Cormier tweeted: “I don’t owe anyone s&*$!”
Miocic was swift and succinct with his response to Cormier’s rant.
Cormier’s comments came just over a month after he left open the possibility of giving Miocic a rematch should a potential super-fight with Lesnar, the former UFC heavyweight champion and WWE Universal Champion, not materialize.
“If it ain’t Brock, I want to fight Stipe Miocic and give him what’s rightfully his, a rematch for this title,” Cormier said in an appearance on “The MMA Hour” on December 31.
Miocic felt he was winning for much of the first round against Cormier in his fourth defense of the heavyweight championship, despite taking a thumb to the left eye on an attempted shove from the challenger early in the bout.
However, out of a clinch, Cormier faked an uppercut, came over the top with a right-handed strike and floored the defending champion. With Miocic on his back, Cormier pounced and landed multiple strikes before the referee called a stop to the contest.
The record-holder for the most consecutive successful defenses of the UFC heavyweight championship, Miocic is 18-3-0 in his professional career, including a 12-3 mark since joining the preeminent organization in mixed martial arts.
“You know, Stipe’s done so much for the heavyweight division,” UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones said prior to his title bout against Anthony Smith last month.
“He’s been exciting. He’s finished a lot of fights, and to have it end so fast and not really give him a chance to really show up and show what he can do, I’m sure he feels like he was robbed, and it’d be great to see a rematch.”