The king is dead, long live the king!
Daniel Cormier fell to Stipe Miocic last night at UFC 241, dropping the heavyweight belt he’d only managed to defend once. Not that there’s any shame to that. The turnover at the tippy top of the big boy division is so high that Miocic holds the most heavyweight defenses in UFC history with just three. Now he’s a two time HW champ as well, just another number that’s conspicuously higher than Cormier’s.
See, “DC” was really hoping to lock in his status as greatest heavyweight ever. Watch any of the profiles or features on Cormier and you’ll see he’s got a pretty good sense of humor about the universe perpetually relegating him to second place. But deep down you know he’d love to be number one for once, and finishing his career with a dominant heavyweight run would have secured his place in history for the foreseeable future.
Alas, that’s not how it went down. Cormier went from dominating the fight early to slipping in the later rounds, dropping his hands and slugging it out instead of using his wrestling. Miocic only got tighter as the fight progressed, and in the fourth round a body shot wobbled “DC” and that was the beginning of the end (watch the highlights here).
For this chapter, anyway. According to UFC president Dana White, a trilogy fight between the two could be down the pipe.
”Stipe’s one of greatest ever too in the heavyweight division,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “There’s nothing to be ashamed with tonight, either guy. No matter how this fight went. If Stipe lost, if Stipe won, if Cormier lost or won, the fight was ridiculous. And both guys came, gave everything they had. Stipe came out on top. Maybe there’s a trilogy out there, maybe Cormier retires. Does the fight happen with Ngannou now? Who knows.
”That will play out over the next several weeks or months. And I think that both guys, Stipe and Cormier, should be proud of what happened in there tonight. It was as awesome of a heavyweight fight as you’ll ever see.”
”It makes sense, it absolutely makes sense,” White said when pushed on the possibility of a third fight. “If both guys wanted that, then yeah. If you look at Cormier, he said that coming into this fight. He was saying ‘I convincingly won the first fight. I don’t know how much longer I’ll fight. There’s a couple other fights I want out there instead of Stipe out there right now.’ But he did, he took the Stipe fight and maybe Stipe reciprocates and they do that again.
“Or maybe he retires, or maybe Stipe wants Ngannou. I don’t know how this plays out. There’s a lot of different ways it could and we’ll have to find out.”
Cormier certainly had little to gain after knocking Miocic out in the first round of their initial fight. And now Miocic has little to gain after finishing Cormier. But one good turn deserves another and after how amazing this fight was, there might actually be a pretty solid number of people jumping through them ESPN+ hoops to see a third and final fight between the two best heavyweights in the world.