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Unknown MMA’s Fight to Watch: UFC 241

More than a year has passed since the pride of Lafayette dethroned the king of Ohio at UFC 226. DC ended a reign that consisted of defending the belt 3 consecutive times, a feat that had never been done in a division that has featured the likes of Randy Couture, Cain Velasquez, Brock Lesnar, Fabricio Werdum, etc. 

With his biggest (Francis Ngannou) challenge behind him at UFC 220 and a successful third title defense, many crowned Stipe Miocic (18-3-0) the greatest, if not arguably the greatest, heavyweight of all-time. At the time, he had done something no other champ had done and at the same time had basically cleared out the division of its contenders.

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One year ago today I broke the record for most consecutive HW title defenses when I beat Francis. Great night and more to come. Love you guys! #SM

A post shared by Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) on Jan 20, 2019 at 6:36am PST

Looking from the not-so-far-distance was the UFC ‘s best pound for pound champions and (at the time) the current light heavyweight champion Daniel “DC” Cormier. On that same night at UFC 220, he served as the co-main event and successfully defended his throne. This possibly served as a foreshadow that their paths were a lot closer than most fight fans thought and soon they would intersect.

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I’m ready. I’ve been ready. I’m going to take back what’s mine.

A post shared by Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) on May 6, 2019 at 12:48pm PDT

Their date with destiny was announced and it would happen sooner rather than later. At UFC 226, a super-fight between light-heavyweight champion and heavyweight champion was scheduled to happen and on the line was a chance for Daniel Cormier to be a part of the famous “Double-champ” club, who at that time only consisted of one name, Conor McGregor.

So on July 7, 2018 they met inside the T-Mobile Arena as the headliners for International Fight Week and 4:33 seconds into the 1st round Daniel Cormier had wiped clean all that Stipe Miocic had worked for. As Cormier had Miocic in the clinch at the center of the octagon, D.C quickly released and threw a right-hook that had Miocic out by the time he hit the canvas. It was a historical night that saw Stipe on the wrong side of it but nonetheless “D.C” now stood for double champ.

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My 2018: 3-0 3 finishes 2 weight classes Double champ Headlined International Fight Week and MSG 39 years old #blessed 📷@allelbows

A post shared by Daniel "DC" Cormier (@dc_mma) on Nov 5, 2018 at 9:30am PST

Fast-forward to nearly a year later and a failed attempt at a mega-fight between Daniel Cormier and Brock Lesnar, meant one thing, Cormier would grant who he calls a “spoiled brat”, Stipe Miocic his rematch. Having successfully defended the belt already once against Derrick Lewis and Lesnar confirming that he had no intentions of stepping back in the octagon meant that Stipes’ chance at revenge and proving that Cormier’s’ victory was a fluke or as he called it “winning the lottery”.

Over the years, Stipe has been one of the most active heavyweight fighters, averaging a little over 2 fights a year. So, maybe this year lay-off will help him and in fact maybe he’s a little more entitled of this rematch than Daniel Cormier thinks. However, it’s not that he’s not deserving that has rubbed Cormier the wrong way, it’s that Stipe “should have fought again (before getting his rematch) but it’s worked (him sitting out) and now he gets his rematch”. 

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Good morning run and shadow box this morning. I’m so excited to compete again #andstill #ufc241 #midcalswrestling #weareaka #zinkinsportsmanagement 📸@iamthebay

A post shared by Daniel "DC" Cormier (@dc_mma) on Aug 13, 2019 at 11:18am PDT

As for Stipe Miocic, he doesn’t care what Cormier thinks and the thought of going back and viewing that first fight has never once crossed his mind. Up until now– Stipe has never gone back and watched that first fight and he couldn’t care less that Cormier feels he should’ve fought again. As the record holder for most consecutive title defenses in a division he feels, as many do, that an immediate rematch was the right thing to do. 

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Don’t tell people your plan. Show people results. #SM

A post shared by Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) on Dec 28, 2018 at 11:27am PST

With Stipe not looking into the past and Cormier unsure of his future after this fight, Cormier is looking to give Miocic what he’s asking for. As some fights have really put Cormier in a hole (Jones vs. DC 2), he believes that another win over Miocic will basically have Stipe feeling an all-time low. Cormier has made his intentions clear this week on various interviews but none more so then when he said this: “sometimes you get what you ask for and when you get it, when you really get it like he’s gonna get it on Saturday, now you’ve got to live with that. It’s gonna take a very, very tough man to bounce back from what I do to Stipe on Saturday night.”

A belt will be on the line when both of these men enter the octagon but more importantly than that; their legacy. At Cormier’s age, a loss provides a step back that I don’t think he can return from but a win cements him as the greatest heavyweight of all-time and adds to his case when discussing the pound for pound GOAT. As for Miocic a second loss to Cormier and any talks of him being the greatest heavyweight are through.

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🌴 Reporting from SoCal 🌴 #UFC241

A post shared by ufc (@ufc) on Aug 14, 2019 at 12:17pm PDT

The stage is set and Anaheim, California will be rocking inside the Honda Center with a stacked UFC 241 card that features some of the most anticipated bouts of this summer. Be sure to catch all the action live on ESPN+ PPV this Saturday.■

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