Andrews: May the best octagon heavyweight ever win at UFC 252
At UFC 252 this Saturday night, the question of the greatest octagon heavyweight will be settled.
The action with the Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier trilogy is not limited to the octagon. At the beginning of the week, online sportsbooks had Miocic and Cormier with basically even odds. Not surprising, considering the history of these two.
Miocic (19-4-0) and Cormier (22-2-0, 1NC) have compelling cases as the heavyweight GOAT. Miocic, 37, is a two-time champion and holds the record for most consecutive title defences at three. He defended against Alistair Overeem, former champ Junior dos Santos (who beat him previously), and Francis Ngannou.
Can Miocic shore up the mistakes he made against Cormier in the first fight and overcome the adjustments Cormier will bring from the second contest?
Cormier, 41, is the company’s second concurrent dual-champion (heavyweight and light heavyweight) after Conor McGregor, defending both at least once. He beat Stipe for the heavyweight belt, defended it against Derrick Lewis, before losing it back to Miocic. He’s also a Strikeforce Grand Prix champion at 5-10 in height.
Cormier gassed out in the rematch. He is now the challenger at 41 years old, four years older than Miocic. The champion’s height and reach advantages remain, plus he has the momentum from winning the rematch. He promised to rededicate himself to his grappling, but can he execute in his retirement bout?
Unfortunately, in combat sports, the best don’t fight the best often enough. Look at the state of boxing right now and the politics that continue to plague it. Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder 3, scheduled for December, is on shaky ground. Errol Spence Jr. vs. Danny Garcia? A good fight, but everyone is still waiting for Spence vs. Terrence Crawford. Canelo Alvarez has not even officially announced who he will be fighting next and it could very well be the DAZN if they don’t honour his five year, 11-fight $365-million contract.
So let’s not act like the Miocic vs. Cormier trilogy is not a big deal.
— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) September 13, 2018
It’s a reaffirmation of what combat sports should be. Two guys who worked their way up to the top of the division, were knocked down, got back up and clawed their way back to the top. Let’s hope for a clear and definitive conclusion Saturday night.
Because there can only be one.