Dubai: They had sampled each other’s weapons twice before, but when Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier met for the third time in what was an epic conclusion to one of MMA’s most enduring trilogies, it was down to which fighter delivered more significant strikes and exhibited greater durability who got the belt.
And that man was the 36-year-old Miocic (20-3—0) who got his hand raised after five rounds of explosive exchanges in the main event at UFC 252 in Las Vegas to earn the undisputed title of Greatest of All Time (GOAT) in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
It was not exactly the war that both fighters promised but it still produced some memorable exchanges where Miocic came off best, notwithstanding an accidental eye-poke on Cormier (22-3—0) late in round three.
Despite his vision being compromised for the remaining two rounds, Cormier was all heart and took the fight to Miocic but it was not enough to convince the three judges who scored the fight in Miocic’s favour — 49-46, 49-46, 48-47.
Miocic not only showed that he is a great champion, if not the greatest in the sport’s heaviest division, but he revealed himself as a great sportsman and paid tribute to a man who has taken most of his attention for the last three years.
“He’s a hell of a fighter. God bless him,” Miocic told UFC analyst Joe Rogan after the fight. “He’s a champion and an amazing ambassador.”
Cormier, who was taken to hospital to attend to his damaged left eye, was also gracious in defeat, if deflated on losing for the second time to his arch rival.
“This sucks. Being on the losing end of two fights is a very sad position to be in. I will deal with it as I have in the past,” a visibly disappointed Cormier said.
“He did a good job, he was able to clinch and he was throwing double under hooks that gave me some trouble. He did a good job not overextending himself.”
And then in what will probably be the last time he has spoken after a fight, Cormier said: “That will be it for me, I’ve had a long run.”
Stipe Miocic defeated Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision
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Daniel Pineda defeated Herbert Burns via TKO at 4:37 of Round 2
Merab Dvalishvili defeated John Dodson via unanimous decision
Vinc Pichel defeated Jim Miller via unanimous decision
Virna Jandiroba defeated Felice Herrig via arm bar at 1:44 of Round 1
Danny Chavez defeated TJ Brown via unanimous decision
Livinha Souza defeated Ashley Yoder via unanimous decision
Kai Kamaka defeated Tony Kelley via unanimous decision
Chris Daukaus defeated Parker Porter via TKO at 4:28 of Round 1