Holy Superfight Batman! Stipe Miocic to defend the UFC Heavyweight Title against Daniel Cormier at UFC 226
Daniel Cormier (right) has a chance to make history as he returns to the heavyweight division to face Stipe Miocic (left)
At UFC 220, Francis Ngannau v. Stipe Miocic was said to be the best heavyweight fight the UFC could produce. Nothing could beat it in regards to promotion. It looks like we were all dead wrong. The company announced a huge bout for UFC 226 with game-changing ramifications for them. Miocic will defend his Heavyweight Title against the Light Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Cormier.
The UFC released a press release discussing the massive matchup. Cormier will still be holding onto the Light Heavyweight Title during this fight. Before the bout, which takes place on July 7th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, the two will captain teams for the 27th season of The Ultimate Fighter. The new season will feature undefeated prospects from the featherweight and lightweight divisions.
Both Cormier (20-1(1)) and Miocic (18-2) are coming off of successful title defenses at UFC 220. After the event, Dana White spoke freely about a potential superfight between the two. It would make sense considering Cormier was originally a member of the heavyweight division. It didn’t take long for pen to go on paper and make it official. This will be another huge test for Stipe, who has already asserted himself as the most dominant heavyweight in UFC history after defeating Ngannou. He is looking to extend the record he broke for the most successful title defenses in the division.
This is a true opportunity at redemption for Daniel Cormier. He proved everyone wrong and was able to lose enough weight to make it to the light heavyweight division. For the past few years, he could never distance himself from Jon Jones in any capacity. After Jones was stripped of the Light Heavyweight Title after testing positive for steroids and Cormier successfully defended the belt against Volkan Oezdemir, it almost seemed like a clean slate for him. That statement would be even more valid if he could beat Miocic. If he were to win, nobody would ever mention the name Jon Jones to him ever again.
History is also on the line for Cormier. He would become the second fighter in UFC history to be a champion in two different weight classes at the same time, joining Conor McGregor.
Why was this deal made, and so quickly? It’s simple: superfight’s create buzz. It’s the exposure the UFC needs before their deal with Fox expires. Speaking of buzz, there are rumors going around that this fight won’t be the only champion v. champion bout on the card. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani is reporting that the UFC is also looking into women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes v. Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg and Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson v. men’s Bantamweight Champion T.J. Dillashaw.
Are superfight’s problematic? Of course they are, especially if there are no champions around to fight coming into the summer. But this time, it’s different. This matchup makes the most sense considering the lack of new, healthy contenders for both men’s titles. On another note, it will provide more viewers to TUF, which could use a boost in ratings.
With the future of Conor McGregor in MMA looking very bleak, this became a necessity. It’s come down to a battle between two of the craftiest fighters in UFC history. Two fan favorites are going to battle it out for pride, respect and gold. Get ready folks, it should be a very hectic but exciting few months to be a fan of MMA and the UFC.