It’s fight week! UFC 226 is upon us.
We have all grown accustomed to the combat-sports leader going all out the first week in July to bring us the fabled International Fight Week. Much more than just an event, International Fight Week is a celebration of the sport, and this year marks the silver anniversary for the Endeavor-owned promotion. It’s a week-long fiesta that culminates on Saturday night with the greatest heavyweight title fight of all time.
However, the hype is all for naught. This is because Daniel Cormier, the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion, will make easy work of heavyweight kingpin Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC 226.
This is not an indictment on the heavyweight champ. Miocic is arguably the best big man to ever lace up the four-ounce gloves. This is more about how great Cormier is as a fighter. After all, the only man to beat “DC” — Jon Jones — is a twice-proven cheat.
Miocic is a good wrestler with Golden Glove boxing skills. His most redeeming attribute, perhaps, is his incredible ability to absorb punishment and recover from certain disaster. Miocic embodies Midwestern grit, and he has embraced the moniker “#AndStill” with greater fervor than any champion before him.
Although physically smaller, Cormier is every bit the champion as Miocic. For better or worse, “DC” has worked harder to gain public fanfare than any other fighter in memory. Right or wrong, though, the aforementioned Jones will forever be synonymous with Cormier’s legacy.
While Miocic is a competent wrestler, he’s just nowhere near the grappler Cormier is. “DC” is an Olympic-caliber wrestler, remember. As popular nomenclature goes, there’s levels to this, and Cormier resides on the top floor.
In the striking department, Miocic has the better technical boxing, but if we factor in kicks, speed, feints and all the other aspects that make up the striking game, then both men exhibit comparable skill sets.
What about Cormier’s age? He is, after all, 39 years old. Miocic, meanwhile, is a youthful 35 years old and turns 36 in August. Yet, we’ve seen elder statesmen of the MMA world surprise with their performances well into their 40s, so Cormier shouldn’t be counted out simply based on this number.
Miocic has shown a propensity to get hit in each of his 14 fights in the Octagon. The heavyweight champion dropped two of those bouts before he climbed to the top of the mountain. “DC” will not let Miocic off the hook. When he hurts the firefighter — and he will — Cormier will close the deal like he has done every other time in his illustrious career.