Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC 226 blew the roof off T-Mobile Arena last Saturday night (July 7, 2018) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Gokhan Saki, who was knocked out by Khalil Rountree in the very first round, ending his plan to take over the Light Heavyweight division in one year (recap). And Francis Ngannou, who suffered his second straight defeat in what proved to be one of the most horrible fights in UFC history against Derrick Lewis.
But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now 48 hours removed from the show?
Going into his headlining title fight against current Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, Stipe looked to add to his record-breaking run as Heavyweight champion by collecting his fourth straight title defense. He was already the baddest man on the planet and most dominant Heavyweight in UFC history, but padding your resume is always a good thing.
But, all runs must come to an end, and Stipe’s came crashing down...hard.
As usual, Stipe came out aggressive, looking to push the pace against the 205-pound champion, and tried to use his size and reach advantage. And he did just that early on, pushing “DC” to the cage at will and clipped him with a few shots, though they weren’t too effective.
To his credit, he also avoided getting taken down from the former Olympian. “DC,” though, did manage to get in some good licks on Stipe despite being the smaller man. But what Cormier lacked in size, he more than made up for in smarts as he knew prior to the fight Stipe would be vulnerable after breaking from the clinch. And he called his shot, cracking Stipe with a powerful over-hand right to drop the 265-pound champion.
Four strikes later, Stipe was down for the count.
As a result, Stipe’s stellar run as champion came to an end. And it’s unfortunate, really, as Miocic — despite not being the most boisterous of fighters — was a great champion, as all he did was step into the cage time after time and took care of business without any of the extra shenanigans.
After the defeat, Stipe put it all into perspective.
“It sucks, losing is not fun at all. But when I put it all in perspective, I am going home right now to my beautiful wife who is having my child,” said Stipe during the post-fight presser. “There are better things than losing. It sucks, you know. I want to come back and rematch, of course. But right now it’s ‘DC’s’ day, good for him,” He added, while offering up no excuses for the defeat.
“I lost, plain and simple there are no excuses. He is the better man tonight.”
As for what’s next for Stipe, a rematch against Cormier isn’t in the cards because of this. But he does have another avenue to get back to his title, and that’s by trying to take out Cormier’s No. 1 training partner, Cain Velasquez.
Cain hasn’t competed in two years, but this is the fight to make in my opinion. When you look at the 265-pound landscape, Stipe has taken out four of the top eight heavyweights in the division. Plus, a fight against Cain will pit the most dominant big man in UFC history against the man many believed would’ve claimed that title had it not been for his time spent on the sidelines due to injury.
If he beats Cain, he could be straight in line to face the winner of Cormier vs Lesnar.