Written by @NickRiznerMMA
With a heavy right hand landed about two minutes into the fight, Stipe Miocic tied one of the most under-the-radar records in the UFC annals.
After hearing the stat repeated multiple times this weekend, I finally had to do a little independent research to confirm its validity. Shockingly, it’s 100% true. No fighter has ever defended the UFC Heavyweight Championship three times in a row.
Crazy, right? I mean think of the divisional standouts. Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Brock Lesnar. All defended the belt twice only to fall short on their third attempt. Even Cain Velasquez – a man who many consider to be the greatest heavyweight of all time – only racked up a pair of title defenses before his belt was taken from him.
Now, it’s worth noting that Cain held the belt on two separate occasions giving him an overall record of 4-2 in championship bouts. But he never won four in a row. Randy Couture actually finished with a 6-2 record in championship fights, but also failed to earn that elusive third consecutive defense.
Unexpected? Perhaps. But consistency is the name of the game and in a division where each and every opponent hits like a truck, the margin for error is impossibly small.
Well on Saturday night, in the main event of a unbelievably stacked card, Stipe Miocic inserted his name into the running for heavyweight GOAT. Now, he stands just one win away from doing what no one else could, and it’s about time we start looking at Stipe as one of the all-time greats.
Let’s break it down:
- He holds a 17-2 overall record with a Fight of the Night bonus in both of his losses.
- He’s currently in the midst of a 5-0 run that includes three victorious title fights and the avenging of a previous loss to JDS.
- He’s taken home post-fight bonuses in 8 of his 13 UFC appearances; 6 of his last 7 fights.
- His three title fights have lasted a total of 9 minutes and 36 seconds, each ending via first round knockout.
So yeah. Stipe Miocic is pretty damn good. Maybe the best. But how does the heavyweight record stack up with the more popular runs by Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Demetrious Johnson. Is it even possible to amass similar streaks at a 265 pound weight class? Only time will tell.
We must wait for the dust to settle before we can begin to understand the larger significance of what’s happening here. But it’s important that we appreciate the moment as well. We’re watching one of the best to ever do it and he is in his fighting prime. Simply put, more people need to be talking about this.
Perhaps it’ll take a win over Cain Velasquez to truly cement his legacy. With the former champ set to return later this year, we may have a chance to see just that. Until then, we turn our attention to different divisions and separate story lines. But let us not lose site of the horizon.
Stipe Miocic vs. Cain Velasquez. What a fight it would it be.