The debate over who is the greatest heavyweight fighter in mixed martial arts history has long raged. That discussion might be over, at least for now.
Stipe Miocic defeated Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) to retain the UFC heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 252 on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Miocic broke his own record of most title defenses in UFC heavyweight history (four) with the victory. This was the third fight between the two men and Miocic broke the tie, winning the trilogy.
UFC president Dana White said coming in that the Miocic-Cormier 3 would decide the greatest heavyweight in MMA history. Miocic, on paper, certainly has the best résumé of anyone to ever compete in the sport’s most prestigious division.
Cormier said repeatedly heading into the bout that this would be the final fight of his illustrious career. Afterward, he indicated the same, saying, “I’m not interested in fighting for anything but titles, and I don’t imagine there’s gonna be a title in the future, so that’ll be it for me.”
Cormier won the first meeting via first-round knockout at UFC 226 on July 7, 2018. Miocic returned the favor in the rematch, stopping Cormier via fourth-round TKO at UFC 241 on Aug. 17, 2019.
Saturday’s bout took place in front of no fans at the UFC Apex, a facility across the street from the UFC’s corporate campus in Las Vegas.
Coming in, ESPN had Miocic ranked as the No. 4 pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world and Cormier at No. 6. At heavyweight, Miocic is No. 1 and Cormier is No. 2. Both men are surefire future UFC Hall of Famers.
Miocic (20-3) is a two-time UFC heavyweight champion. The Ohio native has won eight of his past nine bouts, with the only loss during that stretch coming to Cormier two years ago.
Cormier (22-3, 1 NC) became only the second UFC fighter to hold titles in two different weight classes at the same time when he stopped Miocic in 2018. He was also the only man to defend one of those titles while holding both.
The Louisiana native, who lives and trains in San Jose, California, was the UFC’s light heavyweight champion from 2015 to 2018. Cormier, 41, has lost to just two men in his MMA career: Miocic and longtime pound-for-pound king Jon Jones.