For this writer, the biggest fight on Saturday, July 7th was scheduled to be WBC Super Lightweight champion, Jose Ramirez, making his first title defense against Danny O'Connor. The bout was even slated for Ramirez's hometown of Fresno, California, but once O'Connor was hospitalized from complications of cutting weight, the main event was scratched altogether.
Just as shade was being thrown on the combative sports portion of the weekend, I was reminded of UFC 226 and its' "Super Fight" featuring UFC Heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic (18-3, 14 KO’s) vs. Light Heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier (22-1, 1 NC, 10 KO’s, 4 submissions). That being the case, I moseyed on over to the local watering hole, had a beer or three and witnessed what will certainly be UFC’s “Upset of the Year” for 2018.
Miocic was over two years deep into his reign as UFC champion, with more successful title defenses than any other Heavyweight in history. Five-inch height advantage, eight more in reach; the bigger, stronger and younger man, to boot. Making matters worse, Stipe possesses the best stand-up game in the division, legit one-punch, fight ending power and respectable Boxing skills by MMA standards. Oh yeah, he was a Division-1 Wrestler also. Even with Cormier’s more decorated pedigree in the art of Grappling, a U.S. Olympian in ’04 and ’08, Miocic was heavily favored, nonetheless.
They remained upright for the bulk of the UFC 226 main event, launching fist strikes. The taller Miocic fired over the top, Cormier dipped and ducked, to evade and/or roll with shots, unleashing sneaky uppercuts that quickly marked Miocic under both eyes. Getting poked in the left eye certainly didn’t help Stipe either. With less than thirty seconds left in the 1st, Cormier unloaded an equally sneaky overhand right, out of a clinch, that Miocic never saw coming or braced for. He was planted him on his back. Instantly, Cormier assumed dominant top position and landed enough unanswered head shots to convince the referee to intervene.
Just like that, the sympathetic, aw’ shucks angle to Daniel Cormier’s career was replaced with justifiable admiration and dialogue, inclusion in the discussion as arguably the best mixed martial artist of all times. Well done D.C., well done!