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UFC 226 fight card primer: Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier

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It’s champion vs. champion as Stipe Miocic defends his Heavyweight title against Light Heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier. Details are here.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

This Saturday, UFC 226 sees a champion vs. champion megafight take center stage as UFC Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (18-2 MMA; 12-2 UFC) defends his crown against UFC Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (20-1(1) MMA; 9-1(1) UFC). The UFC rankings have both men in the pound for pound top 5 - Miocic at #2, Cormier at #4. UFC 226: Miocic vs. Cormier airs live from Las Vegas this Saturday night, July 7. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1 and 7:00 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.

Talk of this fight began in earnest in the immediate aftermath of UFC 220 earlier this year. There, both men dispatched of their respective challengers with relative ease, and with no viable contenders in either division, talk of this match-up surfaced. And, amazingly, just 6 months later, here we are. The two men coached TUF, and will now meet in just the 3rd UFC champion vs. UFC champion fight in company history.

How do these two stack up?

Miocic: 35 years old | 6’4” | 80” reach
Cormier: 39 years old | 5’11” | 72.5” reach

What have these two done recently?

Miocic: W - Francis Ngannou (UD) | W - Junior dos Santos (TKO) | W - Alistair Overeem (KO)
Cormier: W - Volkan Oezdemir (TKO) | NC - Jon Jones | W - Anthony Johnson (Sub)

How did these two get here?

Stipe Miocic won the Heavyweight title from Fabricio Werdum in 2016. In the two years since, he’s been something of a fighting champion, breaking the record for most UFC Heavyweight title defenses, with three. He’s currently on a 9-1 run, and coming off a win where he completely outclassed Francis Ngannou on the mat. That ability to toggle between heavy hands and solid wrestling has served the proud Cleveland native very well, as he’s become a solid fighter all-around.

Daniel Cormier has been the UFC Light Heavyweight champion since basically May 2015, with periodic moments of Jon Jones coming in to briefly make some claim to the belt. The only two blemishes on Cormier’s otherwise spotless career come against career rival Jones, with one of those losses getting changed to a No Contest, and the other highly questionable at this point. Cormier has not fought at Heavyweight since 2013, but he was very successful there, going 13-0 and winning the Strikeforce Grand Prix. He dropped down because at the time, his teammate Cain Velasquez seemed to have a stranglehold on the Heavyweight division. At 39 years old, Cormier is openly talking about this being one of the final 2-3 fights of his career. Always in the shadow of Jones, this would be a HUGE career moment for him.

Why should you care?

Champ vs. champ, two top 5 pound for pound fighters, and a huge fight for each man’s legacy - especially Cormier’s. This is high stakes.