The UFC has confirmed that a rubber match between current UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and former UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is on deck for mid-2020. It can be recalled that these two heavyweights have fought twice before with each man winning by knockout once. Cormier was due to retire early this year but after his loss to Miocic, DC wanted a third fight and Miocic obliged. Miocic is still healing up from a retina tear which he suffered from the eye pokes from Cormier at UFC 241. Miocic has fought six straight title fights and will be looking to extend his current reign against the man who dethroned him at UFC 226.
Daniel Cormier is the fourth UFC fighter to hold world titles in two different weight classes and is the first and only fighter to successfully defend both. The 40-year old from Louisiana won the UFC light heavyweight title against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in 2015 and then the heavyweight belt against Miocic at UFC 226. DC defended the heavyweight title successfully against Derrick Lewis but lost it to Miocic one fight later.
Cormier is a former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion and King of the Cage Heavyweight champion. He was a former NCAA Division I All-American from Oklahoma State University and was a gold medalist at the Pan-American Games. DC was the team captain of the 2008 US Olympic Wrestling team although he wasn’t able to compete in the Olympics due to injury. Cormier is 22-2-0-1 with 10 knockouts and 5 wins by submission. He stands 5-11 with a reach of 72 ½ inches while fighting as an orthodox fighter.
Stipe Miocic is a two-time UFC Heavyweight champion and the current UFC heavyweight king. The 37-year old fireman from Cleveland, Ohio is considered one of the greatest heavyweight champions in the history of the UFC. During his first reign as champion, Miocic successfully defended his title three times, the most in the history of the weight class. He also owns nine post-fight bonuses, the most in the history of the UFC heavyweight division.
Miocic won his first heavyweight title by knocking out Fabricio Werdum in Brazil. He repulsed the challenges of Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santos, and Francis Ngannou before he was knocked out by Cormier during his fourth title defense. Miocic is a former Golden Gloves boxing champion and a former Division I NCAA wrestler as well so he is a very well rounded fighter.
Analysis of Odds
When UFC President Dana White confirmed in September that a third fight between Miocic and Cormier will be booked once the champion heals up, the opening lines for the rubber match opened dead even at -110 according to BetOnline. Each man has one win apiece and each one won by knockout and given that this is in the heavyweight division where one punch can change the course of history, it is but just to call this a pick-em fight right off the gate.
- Miocic (-140) | Cormier (+120)
- Odds from BetOnline as of 12/18/19
It can be recalled that DC opened as a -145 favorite during their rematch while Miocic came back at +115 for that bout. Those odds were a stark contrast from their first encounter which took place one year before the rematch. During that initial contest, Miocic was the heavy favorite as he closed at -225 while DC came back at +175. Cormier knocked out Miocic in the first encounter but then Miocic came back to stop DC in the rematch, making this a 1-1 affair between the two heavyweights.
These are two evenly matched fighters who both have shown power in their hands and elite wrestling games as well. Cormier has NCAA Division I wrestling background and he averages 2.04 takedowns per 15 minutes while owning a 78% takedown defense. Miocic meanwhile lands an average of 2.38 takedowns per 15 minutes and defends 75% of takedown attempts against him. On their feet, Miocic is the better striker and may have more power but remember that Cormier was able to catch him with a big punch and knock him out in their first bout.
10 out of Cormier’s 22 wins have been by knockout and five have been by submission. 15 of Miocic’s 19 wins have come by knockout but two of his three losses have been KOs as well. There is a good chance that because their wrestling skills offset each other, these two men will stand and trade as they did in their first two bouts. DC caught Miocic with an uppercut in the clinch to knock him out in the first bout. Miocic battered Cormier in the rematch, landed several body shots that weakened him before finishing him off in round 4. A left hook to the body took the wind off Cormier and started the sequence that led to the KO.
This is a true pick ’em fight not only because we are dealing with two heavy-handed heavyweights here but because we have two evenly matched fighters when it comes to skillset. Both have NCAA Division I wrestling background and although Cormier may have the better wrestling pedigree, Miocic is just as elite in that department. When it comes to standing up, Miocic may have the advantage as he is the more fluid boxer and may possess more pop in his punches. However, Cormier is heavy-handed himself and we saw him knock out Miocic in their first bout.
The main difference here could be age because DC is already 40 and Miocic is three years younger. Although that isn’t too much of a difference and DC has yet to show much of his age, they last fought in August 2018 and the rubber match is being eyed one year later. Stipe is also the bigger fighter here and when you have two heavyweights, sometimes size is what makes the difference. I think that Miocic has the edge here not only because of his physical advantages but because I think DC is already looking at retirement. Miocic still wants to be the greatest of all-time and motivation could be another factor here.