CLEVELAND — Stipe Miocic is less than two months away from getting his coveted rematch against Daniel Cormier for the UFC heavyweight championship, and the Cleveland-based mixed martial artist is focused on regaining the title.
Miocic will challenge Cormier in the main event of UFC 241 at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, August 17, and as one recent post on Instagram said, he is leaving no stone unturned in an effort to get back to the top of the heavyweight division.
Cormier, who had not fought in the UFC heavyweight division prior to the title bout last July, believes Miocic, a record-setting champion in his own right, needed to earn his No. 1 contender status before being granted a rematch.
“I did not like the approach he took,” Cormier said in a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “I just think he’s so good, even if he’d fought over the course of the year, he still would be in this same position, so I don’t feel I have to be nice to him anymore.
“The whole time I said he was a bit entitled. These are conversations we had with the company. He was just as happy as I was. So to make it seem like I was doing something wrong after I was the one that won the fight, I just felt like it was unfair. … I’m not wronging this guy. I’m doing exactly what we were told to do after our first fight.”
Those words echoed Cormier’s sentiments in a Twitter rant back in February, as he called out Miocic for remaining idle while he took a bout against Derrick Lewis to main-event the UFC’s annual early-November trip to Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Miocic was succinct…and swift with his response.
Cormier’s original comments came just over a month after he left open the possibility of giving Miocic a rematch should a potential super-fight with former heavyweight king Brock Lesnar not materialize. Currently, Lesnar is contracted to World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and reportedly, the former champion recently told UFC officials that he would remain retired from mixed martial arts competition.
Despite taking a thumb to the left eye on an attempted shove from the challenger early in the bout, Miocic felt he was winning for much of the first round against Cormier in his fourth defense of the UFC heavyweight championship.
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 loss brought to an end a record-setting run for the most consecutive successful defenses of the UFC heavyweight championship for Miocic, who is 18-3-0 in his professional career heading into the Cormier rematch, including a 12-3 mark since joining the preeminent MMA organization.
Cormier is 22-1 with one no-contest in 24 professional bouts. The one no-contest was originally a knockout loss at the hands of Jon Jones in July of 2017, but a failed test gave the UFC light-heavyweight championship back to Cormier and set him on a path for a return to the heavyweight division.
Miocic plans on making Cormier’s record read: “22-2” come August.
“I’m going to show everyone that I’m the better fighter,” Miocic told WKYC.com after the rematch was announced. “That night was his night, and it will never happen again. He definitely won the lottery that night. Listen, I’m going to go out there and do me and I’m going to walk out with the belt.”