Stipe Miocic (aka “Stone Cold”) is a 20-4, no.2-ranked Heavyweight MMA fighter that was born in Euclid, Ohio, on August 19, 1982. Having had immense success through using his tactical footwork to set up devastating strikes, Miocic (now 39), is the most decorated UFC Heavyweight with four title defences, and is widely regarded the greatest UFC Heavyweight fighter of all time.
Stipe credits his mother with fostering his lifelong passion for sporting competition. While wrestling in NCAA Division I at Cleveland State University, Stipe joined Strong Style Fight Team. Soon, Stipe began training in all aspects of MMA, specializing in boxing and winning the Cleveland Golden Gloves Championship.
Miocic also works as a part-time firefighter. He points to the composure needed in high stress emergencies as helpful for the demands of the cage.
Miocic enjoyed a standout start, winning his first 6 fights by KO/TKO. Upon entering the UFC, it was clear that Stipe’s striking pedigree and wrestling fundamentals put him on a parity with former champions with a significant experience advantage.
Back-to-back stoppages over former champions saw the Ohio local contest Fabricio Werdum’s title. Beating the Brazilian submission specialist ended a 52-year championship drought for Cleveland.
Miocic continued winning, achieving the record for most consecutive UFC Heavyweight title defences, which included going up against opponent, Francis Ngannou, the most dangerous puncher in Heavyweight history. Here, Miocic put on a career- highlight over 5 rounds with clinical, evasive striking and wrestling control.
Miocic then lost by K.O. to Daniel Cormier before going on to win the rematch with him (and overall, trilogy between them), coming in lighter whilst showing improved endurance and shot selection.
In rematching a significantly improved Ngannou, however, Miocic was stopped relatively early.
The success and durability of Miocic has been defined by his ability to adapt to each new heavyweight challenge, and as exceptional as the champ looks right now, a rematch would be a tantalizing proposition.
Every time he has been doubted, Miocic has come back better than ever. Can he do it again?
Now you’ve got the back story on the former Heavyweight champ, let’s breakdown “Stone Cold” Stipe Miocic’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Junior dos Santos – UFC 211 (May 13, 2017)
Junior dos Santos is a former title holder with wins over Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin. Dos Santos was also among the last fighters to beat Miocic.
To start, Miocic opens with a lead leg kick, pressuring dos Santos to the cage before stepping in with a left, then a right hook up top. Dos Santos circles out but Miocic keeps maintaining the pressure.
Miocic continues to press forward despite dos Santos landing leg kicks. A switch stance cross lands hard on dos Santos, whilst, in varying his attack, Miocic gets through.
Circling away, dos Santos is caught by a one-two, then a flush right hook. Miocic’s accuracy proves relentless here, with every punch landing. Dos Santos circles right, into a trap where a hard right hand awaits him at 2:46.
Miocic follows up with a second, audible right hand that sees dos Santos crash to the mat. Dos Santos covers up on all fours as Miocic lands ground strikes. After several unanswered blows, Miocic wins the ‘Performance of the Night’ by TKO.
4. Vs. Mark Hunt – UFC FN 65 (May 10, 2015)
Mark Hunt, a former K-1 Heavyweight Champion was considered one of the most formidable and dangerous strikers around.
Hunt opens round 1 with a strong outside leg kick, looking to establish his jab whilst Miocic times a jab and gets a single leg takedown at 2:20.
In round 2, Miocic controls the fight from the outside. Hunt’s breathing becomes labored, and as he comes in swinging, Miocic counters with a reactive takedown. Turning to all fours, Hunt ends up eating a heavy dose of ground and pound.
Early in round 3, Miocic gets a knee tap takedown again. Landing more strikes, he then moves to mount at 1:35. Miocic keeps landing, looking to the referee. Hunt recovers half guard then turtles but is clearly exhausted.
In round 4, Miocic is again able to duck under and get the takedown at will, and continues to land strikes and blocks as Hunt digs for the underhook.
In round 5, With a high velocity takedown, Miocic runs Hunt to the canvas. On all fours against the fence, Hunt is unable to counter the relentless barrage of Miocic’s strikes. The referee asks Hunt to fight back, however, after 20 more unanswered shots the fight is stopped at 2:47.
3. Vs. Alistair Overeem – UFC 203 (Sept. 10, 2016)
As the former Strikeforce, DREAM and K-1 Kickboxing Heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem was, at this point, considered the most technically accomplished striker in MMA heavyweight history.
In round 1, Miocic instantly begins advancing forward but Overeem, with hands outstretched defensively circles out of range, to then land a right body kick which resonates with a sickening thud.
He then pauses in the centre, breaking the fight’s rhythm, countering with a hard left-hand cross at 4:00. The shot lands and sits Miocic down. Overeem follows up looking for a guillotine submission, however, Miocic fights his hands while trying to scramble out of Overeem’s bottom half control, to finally break the grip and be free.
Miocic now begins to recover and catches Overeem with a clean, left hook and follows up with a right. A solid one-two has Overeem covering up at 2:40 as an uppercut also gets through the guard, here is where Miocic’s ‘relentlessness factor’ accelerates.
Overeem goes for a lead side kick, but Miocic catches the leg and gets a takedown at 0:52. Pulling Overeem’s guard down, he lands four strikes to Overeem’s chin with pinpoint accuracy, knocking Overeem out as the referee intervenes.
In the aftermath, Overeem stated that he felt Miocic tap to the guillotine attempt but the replay showed no such tap and the controversy ended there. This fight deservedly took ‘Fight of the Night’ honours.
2. Vs. Fabricio Werdum – UFC 198 (May 14, 2016)
At this time, Fabricio Werdum was the defending Heavyweight Champion with finishes over Fedor Emelianenko, Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem.
To start, Miocic is light on his front leg as both fighters take the centre. As Miocic advances, Werdum feints then dips to grab Miocic’s front leg, looking to take things to the ground. The grip is loose however, and Miocic frames Werdum off to slip his leg free.
Werdum then blitzes forward with a one-two that lands as Miocic returns the same combination. Following a check kick, Werdum rushes forward again with a quick combination, landing two right hands that stagger the challenger backward toward the fence. Miocic manages to return a right hand while under fire.
As Miocic tries to circle off the fence, Werdum gives chase, swinging aggressively with head unprotected. A stiff right hand while back-pedalling connects hard on Werdum’s chin at 2:50, dropping him to the canvas, and instantly knocking him out.
After two follow-up shots, the referee steps in as Miocic is crowned the new UFC Heavyweight Champion whilst simultaneously winning the ‘Performance of the Night’!
1. Vs. Daniel Cormier – UFC 241 (Aug. 17, 2019)
Miocic carried a lot of pressure coming into this fight. Having been knocked out by Cormier before in sensational fashion the year prior (July 7, 2018 at UFC 226), there were question marks surrounding Miocic’s durability.
To start, both fighters exchanged leg kicks early with Miocic circling on the outside. Cormier lands an overhand leading to a single leg at 3:00. Miocic defends but is lifted and dropped to the canvas. Cormier establishes enough control to win the first round.
As round 2 begins, Cormier looks to close in as he starts winning the jabbing exchanges whilst elbowing-off hand fighting. They both actually land solid strikes, with the round proving to be very even.
In round 3, Cormier comes out with his hands up but Miocic lands strikes earlier. A front body kick, and a one-two gets through at 4:40. Cormier also lands a hard, one-two, the cleanest shots of the round, whilst also maintaining a good volume of strikes and pressure to secure the edge in this round.
In round 4, Miocic lands a stinging, left body uppercut that makes Cormier wince. As Cormier backs up, Miocic steps in landing the same shot with palpably damaging effect at 3:05.
Cormier is now reacting to every shot and covering up the targeted areas. He staggers back towards the fence whilst Miocic lands a series of pinpoint-accurate, right hands to Cormier’s jaw at 0:58. Then he follows up with left hooks as Cormier buckles at the knees, unable to defend himself.
After more unanswered strikes, referee Herb Dean steps in to call the fight by knockout. Miocic had battled through adversity and come from behind to regain his title once more, winning the ‘Performance of the Night’ in the process.