At UFC 220 on January 20, 2018, at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, Cleveland’s UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic faced number one contender Francis Ngannou in the main event of the evening for the UFC Heavyweight Championship and the moniker of “The Baddest Man on the Planet.” Meanwhile, in the co-main event of the evening, the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Daniel “DC” Cormier, took on Volkan Oezdemir for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Cormier defeated Oezdemir by TKO at the 3-minute mark of the 2nd round and retained the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Meanwhile, Miocic defeated Ngannou by unanimous decision (50-44) to retain the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Not only did Stipe remain reigning, defending undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion of the world, but he also set the record for the title defenses in UFC Heavyweight history with three.
Stipe has cleared out the top contenders in the Heavyweight Division and nobody has really emerged as a true contender in the Light Heavyweight Division for Cormier, so the possibility of Cormier returning to heavyweight began to emerge as a possibility. Both Miocic and Cormier are at the top of their games right now, so it only makes sense for this fight to happen right now and that is exactly what will happen in the main event of UFC 226 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 7, 2018. Before moving to the light heavyweight division, Daniel Cormier was actually a heavyweight fighter, moreover, Cormier was 13-0 at heavyweight.
Stipe will have an 8-inch reach advantage over Cormier, 80” to 72” and Stipe also has the height advantage over Cormier, Miocic is 6’4’’ and Cormier is 5’11’’. Stipe won’t really use that reach advantage against Cormier though because Stipe likes to close the distance and be very close to his opponents and use short but powerful punches. In fact, many of Stipe’s punches are short and come in at a 90-degree angle. Cormier will also try and close the distance as well, but there will be instances where he uses his long reach. In terms of strikes landed per minute, the edge goes to Stipe. 4.75 strikes landed per minute for Miocic and 3.84 strikes landed per minute for Cormier.
Both Cormier and Miocic will use takedowns but in different ways. Cormier has the advantage in the takedown percentage category, 41.5% for “DC” and 37.1% for Miocic. Cormier uses the takedown on his opponents because he wants to wrestle with his opponents and keep them down, whereas, with Stipe, the takedowns are part of his game plan in order to keep his opponent guessing because he doesn’t want his opponents to be able to predict what he’s going to do next.
There is a lot to be gained for Cormier going into this fight and a lot to be lost for Miocic going into this fight. Cormier will try to be only the 2nd UFC fighter to hold two belts simultaneously. The only other person was Connor McGregor, while Miocic is trying to defend his belt for the 4th time and extend his reign as the heavyweight champion. This is going to be a very close fight. I think that if it goes all five rounds, Cormier might get the win. I think that if Stipe is going to win the fight, it will have to be by stoppage somehow.