Leading up to UFC 226 there’s been a lot of talk about what a victory tonight will mean for Daniel Cormier, considering he’d become a two division champ. But, what will a win contribute to the legacy of the man he’ll face, Stipe Miocic?
The 205 champ Cormier is moving up to face the reigning, heavyweight king, in what many believe is the most important fight to happen in 2018. After all, it’s not every day you see two, reigning champions fight in the UFC. Further, if Cormier does defeat Miocic, he’ll become just the fifth man in the promotion’s history to win titles in two divisions. Not only that, but Conor McGregor is only the fighter who secured a second UFC belt, while still officially being the champ of another division.
So, for the reasons outlined above, and because Cormier has only lost to Jon Jones, there’s been plenty of buzz about what a win would do for “DC”, in terms of the greatest-of-all-time discussion.
As far as Miocic, however, this fight is happening at a juncture where more-and-more people are asking whether the Ohio fighter’s the greatest heavyweight to date. Miocic has defended the UFC heavyweight title more times – three – than any other champ before him. Not only that, but the 35 year-old is riding a six fight winning streak which includes stoppage wins over decorated stars Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum and Junior dos Santos. In his last outing, Miocic halted Francis Ngannou’s meteoric rise by working his way to a decision win over the devastating puncher.
While discussing the narrative mentioned above, and what’s on the line tonight, the champ said this (quotes via UFC.com):
“A lot of people think so, a lot of people don’t. I don’t really worry about stuff like that.”
“I have nothing to prove,” said Miocic. “I just like shutting people up and I’m gonna keep doing it.”
It’s certainly true that Miocic has had an incredible career, and that he has nothing to prove. But if defeats Cormier tonight at UFC 226, will that end the debate as to whether he’s the greatest heavyweight ever?
On one hand, since Miocic is the favorite to win, and because Cormier hasn’t fought at heavyweight in nearly five years, folks who don’t see him as the greatest yet, probably won’t change their minds. Especially people from the camp who point to Fedor Emelianenko’s decade long, undefeated run, as to why he’s the greatest.
But, a win tonight will almost certainly bolster the argument that Miocic’s the greatest, UFC heavyweight champ. It will mark the fourth time he’s defended the heavyweight crown, and he will have defeated one of the best, pound-for-pound fighters the game has ever known.