Stipe Miocic was knocked out by Daniel Cormier in the first round of their headlining championship bout at UFC 226 but, due to his three record-breaking title defenses, the former heavyweight champion feels he’s deserving of a rematch against ‘DC.’
Cormier thinks Miocic needs to win another fight before earning a rematch and, speaking to reporters in a recent interview (h/t CageSide Press), American Kickboxing Academy teammate Cain Velasquez echoed his training partner’s sentiment.
Velasquez, who will return to the Octagon against heavy-hitting knockout artist Francis Ngannou at UFC on ESPN 1, has a tremendous amount of respect for Miocic but feels the 36-year-old should earn his way back to a title shot.
“Stipe just put in work when he needed to do it, and he won when he needed to do it. My hat’s off to him, with the guys that he’s fought. I believe he’s been a great champion,” Velasquez said of Miocic. “I knew just going in and watching him throughout his career, I knew how good he was.
“When [Daniel Cormier] had the opportunity to fight him, I didn’t see anywhere where Daniel would lose that fight. I was pretty confident in that,” he continued.
“Just because you were the reigning, defending heavyweight champion, doesn’t mean you get a title shot right away.”
Cormier, who knocked out Miocic to become the UFC’s first-ever simultaneous light heavyweight and heavyweight champion, is more interested in a proposed ‘superfight’ against Brock Lesnar. The Olympian is also open to a trilogy fight against bitter rival Jon Jones, but ‘Bones’ has no interest in moving up in weight to challenge Cormier for the heavyweight title.
As for Velasquez, the former heavyweight champ will headline UFC on ESPN 1 opposite Ngannou. The highly anticipated event takes place this Saturday, Feb. 17 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.