Stipe Miocic ruthlessly finishes Daniel Cormier to reclaim UFC heavyweight belt
Miocic even had energy to dance a jig after the referee stopped his onslaught.
Former champion Stipe Miocic finally got his rematch with Daniel Cormier at UFC 241 and the pair combined for 304 strikes, a new heavyweight record.
The night ended with a new heavyweight winner, too, as a fourth round assault by Miocic left ref Herb Dean with no choice but to step in and call it.
Miocic won the heavyweight strap in 2016 when he knocked out Fabricio Werdum. He would go on to defend it three times - a UFC record - before Cormier created a bit of history of his own, 13 months ago, by knocking the 36-year-old out in the first round.
Cormier became a double champion after that UFC 226 victory but would eventually vacate his light heavyweight title to focus on finishing his career out in the heavyweight division. He defended his belt against Derrick Lewis and had been hoping for a bout with Brock Lesnar as the money-spinning way to bow out.
That fight never materialised so Miocic, who had not fought since his July 2018 loss, was granted a rematch. The main event looked to be heading Cormier's way - he definitely won two of the first three rounds - until Miocic changed strategy in the fourth by unloading some fierce punches to the champion's body.
One punishing connection left Cormier winded and as he dropped his elbows to protect his ribs, Miocic then reeled off a string of punches that tagged the champion's head and left him in a world of trouble. As he slumped against the cage, under a barrage, Dean stepped in to end the fight.
Crown regained, the Ohio native even found the energy to dance a victory jig:
— UFC on TNT Sports (@ufcontnt) August 18, 2019
Following his win, Stipe Miocic told Joe Rogan:
"DC’s a tough motherf*****. I’m going to give it to him. Thank god cause that mothef*****’s tough and he kept coming. It’s a fight, anything can happen."
Miocic added that he knew his body shots were hurting Cormier. "He was dropping his hands. I’ve just got to keep working, keep working, and he was going to leave something open and I started coming over with the right hand."
Following the fight, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones said nothing about Cormier, his long-time rival, and reserved praise for the new champ.
Stipe is hands down the greatest heavyweight of all time. I have nothing else to say
— BONY (@JonnyBones) August 18, 2019
Cormier was gracious in defeat and, at 40, hinted that retirement could be a distinct possibility.
Elsewhere on the UFC 241 card, there were decision wins for Nate Diaz (over Anthony Pettis), Paulo Costa (over Yoel Romero) and Derek Brunson (over Ian Heinisch).