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UFC 226’s Daniel Cormier: Stipe Miocic ‘hits hard, but not abnormally hard’

Daniel Cormier went in for the kill when he realized Stipe Miocic posed no real threat with his striking.

MMA: UFC 226-Miocic vs Cormier Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Cormier initially let Stipe Miocic press the action in the opening two minutes of their headlining championship bout at UFC 226. And, according to ‘DC’, that was all part of the plan.

“When we fight a guy we like to get his timing, so that’s what I was doing,” Cormier said at the post-fight press conference on Saturday, per MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll.

After Cormier gauged Miocic’s timing and got a feel for his power, the former Olympian didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger and bring the fight to his opponent, landing a number of stiff shots before crumpling Miocic with a right hook in the last 30 seconds of the first round.

Cormier was complimentary of Miocic’s skill set but said the part-time fighter didn’t have the kind of power to trouble him.

“I was seeing how he hit and seeing how fast he was and everything. He took me down and he was trying to hit me when I got back up. It all hurts, Stipe is a big, strong guy, he’s a great champion, but it wasn’t anything abnormal. I was like, ‘He hits hard, but not abnormally hard’. When I figured that out and I got a little bit of his timing, I figured that it wouldn’t be one punch that kind of slept me.

“I could start to match forward and try get in the clinch. That’s what I started doing and I started to have success there; hitting him with the jab and hitting him with a couple of right hands.”

Cormier became the first ever simultaneous light heavyweight and heavyweight champion with his win over Miocic and almost made things look easy on fight night. That’s because the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) standout had drilled the sequence that led to the knockout over and over again in the weeks leading up to the bout.

“Early in the fight, we got into a clinch position and you guys know one of my favorite positions is a collar tie and uppercuts. I’m sure [Miocic] planned for that, but Rosendo [Sanchez] and I have been working on going collar tie, uppercut, and then following it with a right hook. After the first one, I think [Miocic] tried to block the first uppercut but then the right hook was coming and it landed beautifully,” Cormier said.

Cormier is expected to defend his heavyweight title against former champ Brock Lesnar, although the earliest Lesnar can return to the Octagon is January, 2019 due to his failed drug test stemming from 2016. Lesnar, 40, must re-enter USADA’s drug testing pool and serve out the remainder of his one-year suspension. Cormier, 39, is open to defending his light heavyweight title against Shogun Rua before meeting Lesnar at heavyweight.

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