Stipe Miocic recaptured the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 241, but not without facing some early adversity in his rematch with Daniel Cormier.
Cormier outstruck Miocic for the majority of the first three rounds of their fight, which headlined Saturday’s card in Anaheim. In the first round, ‘DC’ took Miocic down and kept him on the ground until the round was over.
Miocic was losing on all three judges’ scorecards heading into the fourth round, but at the end of the night that ultimately didn’t matter. Miocic finished Cormier with strikes late in the fourth round to become the new champion.
“I was fighting like a b-tch,” Miocic said at the UFC 241 post-fight press conference. “I really was. I take nothing from DC. He’s tough. He’s fought the best, he’s beat the best in the world. It took a little time to get my mojo. I just couldn’t feel it.
“[Cormier] makes people feel uncomfortable in there. He did that for the first two rounds. But then I started to get my barrings straight, I saw him slowing down, and I was like, ‘OK, this is where I take it now.’”
Miocic said he had no problem having to go through a tough first couple rounds, because “it’s how we do it in Cleveland.” According to Miocic, one of his coaches told him after the fight that he could tell between the third and fourth rounds that Miocic was just minutes away from winning the fight.
“I started off slow in the first two rounds,” he said. “I wasn’t me. In the third round, I knew I was the better fighter.”