Stipe Miocic has been driving hard for an immediate rematch with Daniel Cormier, and a shot at the heavyweight belt he held for over two years. But what does Cormier’s longtime buddy, teammate and former champ Cain Velasquez think?
Ever since Miocic was KO’d by Cormier last July, the dangerous fighter has called for a rematch with “DC” and a title shot. Initially, Cormier was understanding of Miocic’s campaign, but more recently the champ’s argued that the Ohio fighter is acting “entitled”.
Well, in advance of Velasquez’s bout with Francis Ngannou this Sunday at UFC Phoenix, the former champ was asked to weigh in on the debate. Here’s what the well-rounded fighter had to say (quotes via Bloody Elbow):
“Stipe just put in work when he needed to do it, and he won when he needed to do it. My hat’s off to him, with the guys that he’s fought. I believe he’s been a great champion,” Velasquez said. “I knew just going in and watching him throughout his career, I knew how good he was.
“When [Daniel Cormier] had the opportunity to fight him, I didn’t see anywhere where Daniel would lose that fight. I was pretty confident in that,” he continued.
“Just because you were the reigning, defending heavyweight champion, doesn’t mean you get a title shot right away.”
It’s an interesting debate. On one hand, Miocic defended the heavyweight title more times than anyone else has – three. He’s currently ranked #1 in the division, and Cormier’s already defeated the #2 ranked, Derrick Lewis. Miocic defeated the #3 positioned Francis Ngannou last year, and the latter recently took out the #4 ranked, Curtis Blaydes.
But, Cormier did knock Miocic out in the first round. And does a reign that long warrant an immediate rematch in these circumstances? Would lots of fans be invested in Cormier – Miocic 2 at this juncture? Hard to say.
One thing’s for certain, however, Miocic is more deserving of a title shot than Brock Lesnar, who has no official wins on his record since 2010.
Here is the line-up for Sunday’s card in Phoenix.
MAIN CARD (ESPN/9 p.m. ET)
Heavyweight: Cain Velasquez vs. Francis Ngannou
Lightweight: James Vick vs. Paul Felder
Strawweight: Cortney Casey vs. Cynthia Calvillo
Featherweight: Alex Caceres vs. Kron Gracie
Welterweight: Vicente Luque vs. Bryan Barberena
Featherweight: Andre Fili vs. Myles Jury
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN/7 p.m. ET)
Bantamweight: Jimmie Rivera vs. Aljamain Sterling
Bantamweight: Benito Lopez vs. Manny Bermudez
Female Flyweight: Andrea Lee vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith
Lightweight: Scott Holtzman vs. Nik Lentz
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+/5:30 p.m. ET)
Bantamweight: Renan Barao vs. Luke Sanders
Strawweight: Jessica Penne vs. Jodie Esquibel
Strawweight: Aleksandra Albu vs. Emily Whitmire