01 Jan Stipe Miocic ‘happy to cement’ as his legacy as the GOAT, but ‘I always get sh*t on’
It’s awfully hard not to consider Stipe Miocic among the greatest heavyweights in MMA history following his win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 252. But he’s already waiting for the arguments against him.
After splitting a pair of fights in their first two meetings, the Ohio native capped off his trilogy with Cormier by winning a unanimous decision after five hard-fought rounds. Miocic has now retained his championship after previously defending the title on three separate occasions during his first reign atop the heavyweight division.
Considering the gaudy list of accomplishments he’s racked up while facing a murderer’s row of talent over the years, Miocic believes the second win over Cormier should answer any questions about his status in the best ever conversation. If it doesn’t, he’s not going to lose any sleep over it.
“We’ll see on Monday,” Miocic said at the UFC 252 post-fight press conference when asked if he’s comfortable saying he’s now the greatest heavyweight in history. “Everyone’s going to change their opinion about it. I always get sh*t on it seems like.”
Despite Miocic’s skepticism, UFC President Dana White said numerous times that he felt like the winner of Saturday’s heavyweight title fight would be considered the greatest of all time.
Any conversation about that subject remains a matter of opinion, but more than anything, the 37-year-old husband and father would rather stay focused on making his family proud than worrying about an extra accolade being stamped on his Wikipedia page.
“Listen, I’m just happy to cement my legacy,” Miocic said. “Everyone’s talking about legacy. Only reason I’m happy to cement my legacy is to show my daughter, if we have more kids, to show them that hard work pays off.
“Listen if you do something and you put your mind and effort into it. You do good things. I’m just happy where I’m at. I’ve done a lot but it wasn’t just me though. It was my coaches, my amazing wife, my family, my friends, they always supported me and backed me up.”
Nothing came easy for Miocic in any fight with Cormier, though he’s confident that the trilogy could have ended much the same as their rematch if he would have had just a little bit more time in the second round. With the clock ticking away, he caught Cormier with a combination that had the former two-division champion on wobbly legs as he fell to the ground. Miocic followed him to the canvas in an attempt to get the finish but Cormier held on until the horn.
The fight ultimately went to decision, but Miocic knows without a doubt that he was just a few seconds away from securing a second straight knockout against Cormier.
“Yes, 100 percent I would have finished him,” Miocic said about that sequence. “He was stumbling. Just like the last fight, in the second fight, in the fourth round, I had him in the same spot. I rushed in too fast. If I would have stepped back just a little bit, one step back, I think I would have caught him.
“He was [still rattled at the start of round 3], I could see it. That’s why I kind of pushed it a little bit. But he also caught me in the first round. I was trying to slip and he hit me in the back of the head. It was not intentional, just when he caught me I was like ‘whoa!’ and I looked up and I could still see, thank God.”