Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic retained his 265-pound title by capturing the third and final fight against former division kingpin, Daniel Cormier, in the UFC 252 pay-per-view (PPV) main event, which took place last Sat. night (Aug. 15, 2020) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The conclusion of their trilogy, which began with a Cormier win at UFC 226 and continued with Miocic’s revenge at UFC 241, was the kind of battle that deserved to have mixed martial arts (MMA) fans in attendance. Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic has left UFC APEX empty for the foreseeable future.
No question the loss will be hard to swallow for Cormier and his fans; however, if we’re looking at what’s best for the weight class, a Miocic victory was always the best-case scenario. “DC” was retiring — win or lose — and would have surrendered the strap had he prevailed in the UFC 252 headliner.
That means Miocic probably would have rematched Francis Ngannou for the vacant title and the victor would have always had the invisible asterisk next to their title reign. That was something that haunted Cormier when he was carrying the 205-pound belt after Jon Jones self destructed for the 472nd time.
The winner of Miocic-Ngannou would have been faced with, “Yeah, but he’s only champion because Cormier retired.”
Instead, Miocic retained his title and the division will move forward. I know it’s hard to get jazzed about a rematch when the first fight was not close, but a lot has changed since the No. 2-ranked Ngannou (second only to Cormier) was mugged back in early 2018. To the tune of four straight wins with four violent knockouts.
The only thing that would interfere with Ngannou’s title shot would be a champion vs. champion super fight pitting Miocic against Jones, who went from “See you in two years” to “Soon I’ll be considered the baddest man on this planet.”
Yes, Miocic is game.
“Heavyweight world championships, I will be seeing you real soon,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “I’m too fast, I’ll be too strong when the time is right and have way too much energy. Soon and very soon I’ll be considered the baddest man on this planet.”
“Sit down and wait your turn, I got next,” Ngannou fired back.
The promotion has tried to book Miocic against Jones once before and would likely have no problem doing it again. The difference between UFC 218 and UFC 252 is that “Bones” did not have to bump a top-ranked heavyweight knockout machine to earn the spot. The next heavyweight title shot should (and probably will) go to Ngannou.
In the interim, these two can slug it out for the right to challenge the winner.
For complete round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 252 PPV main card click here. For all the latest and greatest UFC 252: “Miocic vs. Cormier 3” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.