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27th Jan 2018

Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier is actually an awful idea

Be prepared for the consequences

Ben Kiely

Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier

No one with more than two brain cells to rub together will argue that Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier isn’t a great fight.

Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier is arguably the most exciting booking of 2018 so far. As a contest, it appeals to the overwhelming majority of fans. Whether they enjoy the storylines or the skillsets, UFC 226’s main event is sure to provide the goods.

In terms of consecutive title defences, Miocic is the best heavyweight the UFC has ever seen. Extending the record against a marquee name like Cormier would see a larger spotlight cast on a true great. With no clear-cut number one contender, this fight also avoids the potential rematch fatigue of giving Fabricio Werdum another crack.

DC gets the chance to become just the second fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold belts in two separate divisions. That feat would help shake off some of that dark cloud the Jon Jones fights left hanging over his legacy. A wider audience would recognise him as one of the greatest fighters to ever grace an Octagon.

DC has only beaten three fighters currently ranked in the 205 lb top 15 – Alexander Gustafsson, Volkan Oezdemir and Patrick Cummins. So there are plenty of fresh match-ups for Cormier’s next defence. However, the consensus is that Cormier is so far ahead of the chasing pack that a fight against anyone outside the top contender wouldn’t be appealing.

Gustafsson is the number-one light-heavyweight contender. He’s coming off two solid wins against Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira respectively. His last defeat was a very competitive and entertaining split decision to Cormier two years ago.

However, injury ruled ‘the Mauler’ out of fighting in July. The promotion wanted a huge main event in July and they wanted two recognisable coaches for the reality show nobody watches anymore. So, Gustafsson missed out.

All the reasons listed for why this fight is appealing share one commonality – they all satisfy our desires for right now. Be wary of this It’s a short-term high though. It has the potential to wreak long-term havoc on two weight classes.

There was a time when a champion needed to clean out a division several times over before the UFC entertained the notion of them fighting for another belt. It’s 2018 and Dana White’s actively pushing for bantamweight king TJ Dillashaw to fight for Demetrious Johnson’s flyweight belt, bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes taking on Cyborg for her featherweight strap and now, this.

The old way of approaching superfights may not be manic enough for this crazy reality where Conor McGregor boxed Floyd Mayweather. However, there was a method to the non-madness. Respecting the order of the division reduced the chances of it collapsing.

When McGregor moved up after beating Jose Aldo, it took a couple of years for normality to be restored at 145 lbs. In his absence, Jose Aldo became the interim champion by beating Frankie Edgar. After ‘Scarface’ was promoted to full champion status, Max Holloway won the interim strap by beating Anthony Pettis. Holloway then unified the belt before blessing it with its first successful defence in three years.

There is so much uncertainty over the lightweight division because of the megafight to end all megafights. McGregor’s absenteeism due to the Mayweather fight has resulted in outrageous confusion. Tony Ferguson will fight Khabib Nurmagomedov in the greatest 155 lb title fight booking in UFC history. The problem is, no one knows what belt will be up for grabs. McGregor hasn’t been stripped, but White maintains the fight will be for the ‘real belt’.

Look at what happened to the business end of the middleweight division after GSP’s targetting of Michael Bisping. Robert Whittaker went from being the interim king to the undisputed champ, but injury means the next PPV is headlined by another interim 185 lb dual.

All going to plan, the winner of UFC 226’s main event will commit to one of the divisions. MMA rarely goes to plan though. Injuries happen, champions stay out for prolonged periods of time and the promotion needs title fights to showcase.

There’s no problem with being in favour of Miocic vs Cormier, but one has to accept the potential cost. Enjoy the fight, but don’t complain if this doesn’t work out well in the end. Don’t moan about another interim title or a champion remaining inactive for a long time. Don’t whine about a division or two being held up. That’s what often happens when these wild bookings are made.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.