Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens is a fan of Northeast Ohio and those who represent it on the fields of competition.
Kitchens has made public his support of the other teams and professional athletes in Northeast Ohio, so much so that he wore a Cleveland Indians cap during his press conference on the first day of the spring workouts back in April and welcomed World Wrestling Entertainment/NXT superstars Johnny Gargano and Candice LaRae to team headquarters, both during the offseason and again in training camp.
Kitchens is hoping to add another name to the list, that of new UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, a Northeast Ohio native and lifelong Browns fan who reclaimed the title with a technical knockout win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 241 in Anaheim, California last Saturday night.
“I would love to get him out here,” Kitchens said following Monday’s training camp practice. “I am going to need some help from you guys. I would love to get him out here.”
After struggling to find his range in the first three rounds, Miocic picked his spots during the fourth frame and was sticking and moving, engaging with punches, including several left hooks to Cormier’s ribs, and getting out of the pocket before the defending champion could respond.
Then, after a lead left hook to the body, Miocic landed a straight right hand to Cormier’s chin. That wobbled Cormier and Miocic moved in for the finish. Miocic landed three right hands before connecting on three short lefts while putting Cormier against the cage.
As Cormier slumped to the canvas, Miocic alternated right and left-handed punches and forced the referee’s stoppage with 52 seconds remaining in the fourth round.
“I saw the highlights of the fight,” Kitchens said. “I did get a rundown of it, and it seems like he really never gave up and just kept fighting. Sometimes, the best ability is reliability, availability and dependability, and I think he is a great demonstration of that.”
It was the first time in Cormier’s career that he was knocked out in a heavyweight fight, and Miocic’s comeback victory earned him a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.
The record-holder for the most consecutive successful defenses of the UFC heavyweight championship, Miocic improved to 19-3-0 in his professional career with the victory over Cormier, including a 13-3 mark since joining the UFC in 2011.