Stipe Miocic cemented his place as one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, heavyweight fighters of all time at UFC 220 with a beautiful performance against a beast of a human being in Francis Ngannou. Also at UFC 220, in the co-main event, Daniel “DC” Cormier smashed Volkan Oezdemir, solidifying himself as the greatest light heavyweight of all time, not named Jon Jones. Immediately after the event, Dana White floated the idea of these two champs battling it out for the heavyweight title, considering DC is undefeated during his time at heavyweight. Sounds great. Champ vs champ, legend vs legend, sounds like a fun fight, but is it good for the UFC?
I read that Dana wanted this fight on twitter the morning after UFC 220. My first thought in my head was no way, this isn’t going to happen. DC even said he didn’t really want that fight because his friend and training partner Cain Velasquez was going to be returning for the heavyweight title shot later this year, after returning from an injury that has kept him out of the octagon for a long time. Guess what DC? Dana doesn’t care what you want. Shortly after, the fight was set for UFC 226. I like this matchup for a couple reasons. The first is that I am a fan of well crafted, technical and disciplined martial arts. DC is the best wrestler the UFC has ever seen. Miocic was a NCAA Division I All-American Wrestler. DC is an excellent striker. Miocic has knocked out legends like Overeem, Werdum, Dos Santos, Hunt, Arlovski. This is going to be a very even matchup. DC may be the better wrestler, but Miocic has the edge on the feet and is bigger (6’4 245lbs) whereas DC is 5’11 205lbs. DC has fought at heavyweight and could actually fight better at a heavier weight considering that he is known to struggle with his weight cut down to 205.
I also love the stakes of this fight. There has been so much talk about Miocic becoming the greatest heavyweight of all time with his dominant win over Ngannou. What would it mean if he lost to someone who hasn’t competed in that division in years? Does that diminish his GOAT status? Personally, I don’t think so because he’ll always be able to say that he lost to a light heavyweight not a true heavyweight. Besides, he has beaten every true heavyweight legend or prospect put in front of him. DC has been in the GOAT of UFC history conversation lately, not just in the light heavyweight division. He says that with a win over Miocic, he would be solidified as the best ever. I have a hard time with that one. But I do think that with a win over Miocic puts him in that conversation. He’s dominant, he’s a legend, he belongs on the Mount Rushmore of the UFC, but I don’t think he is number one. I think that position belongs to Demetrious Johnson, but that is a conversation for a different time. Both of their positions in history are on the line. That’s why I like this matchup.
It does seem like the UFC is just giving up on the light heavyweight division considering the lack of talent. Alexander Gustafsson deserves the title shot, but nobody really cares about that. The UFC Built up Oezdemir to be a stud running over people, but he was exposed for not being championship ready. I can’t blame them. No other LHW prospect is going to sell as well. I do want them to try to build up someone else, maybe Manuwa even though he lost to Oezdemir, maybe OSP, but that division needs something entertaining and this matchup proves it. For the heavyweight division, I want to see a build up between Miocic and Ngannou because we all know one clean shot from Ngannou could have ended that fight at any time. I want to see him take time off to train his wrestling, and beat a high level guy for a rematch. The heavyweight division is okay for a while as there is still big name talent and with Velasquez returning there are plenty of matchups to make. The LHW division I’m worried about, and the UFC is too. The only thing that can save them is a Jon Jones return. And with what I’ve heard, that might happen sooner than expected, much sooner.