Stipe Miocic might be a 2-1 betting favorite heading into his highly anticipated title bout with Daniel Cormier this Saturday, but the reigning heavyweight champion still has his doubters.
And he’s not sure why.
Prior to his title defense against Cameroonian knockout artist Francis Ngannou in January, Miocic, despite being the champ, was billed as the underdog. It seemed that everyone, including the UFC, was expecting ‘The Predator’ to usurp Miocic with a highlight reel knockout. That didn’t happen, though, and Miocic ended up breaking the record for the most heavyweight title defenses in UFC history (3) and established himself as a top-three pound-for-pound talent.
Still, it feels as though the Ohio-born fighter isn’t being given the credit he deserves heading into UFC 226, as much of the focus has been on the possibility of ‘DC’ becoming a simultaneous light heavyweight and heavyweight champion.
“(It’s) just like every fight – I feel like everyone’s not really giving me a chance, like I’m a washed-up fighter or something like that,” Miocic told reporters ahead of his superfight with Cormier, per MMA Junkie’s Matt Erickson and Dave Mandel.
Cormier is, no doubt, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, having defended his light heavyweight title three times and, prior to that, winning the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix in 2012.
The former Olympian has plenty of titles to his name and has a legitimate chance to make history at UFC 226, but Miocic plans to spoil the party and bring the belt back back home.
“‘DC’ is an amazing fighter, of course – one of the best in both weight classes: heavyweight and light heavyweight,” Miocic said. “He’s going to go out there and try to do what he does. But unfortunately, he’s not going to get it. I’m going to walk out with the belt still wrapped around my waist.”
UFC 226: Miocic vs. Cormier takes place this Saturday, July 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.