CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - This could rank right up there with the other great trilogies inside the ring.
In their first battle, two years ago, Daniel Cormier took Stipe's belt. A year ago, Miocic took it right back.
Saturday night in Las Vegas, they square off one more time. With even more than a title at stake.
Even UFC president Dana White has said that the winner of this fight will cement their standing as the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time.
“It’s great, man. It’s great to be put in that conversation,” Miocic told me from Las Vegas during a zoom interview. “It’s awesome. But I’m worried about the fight. Once I get that ‘W', then you can say that.”
No heavyweight champ has defended his title more successfully than Stipe. He’s the only UFC heavyweight with three straight successful title defenses on his resume.
He fights for his family, and for all of Northeast Ohio. Two of his three passions. The other, of course, his day job as a firefighter and paramedic. Which has its own risks, during this pandemic.
”You know, I’m here to help people,” Miocic says. “That’s why I’m a firefighter and a paramedic. But it’s not so much about me getting it. If I get it, I get it. I put myself in harm’s way. But my problem is, I just don’t want to go home to my wife and daughter. That was always the scary part about it.”
Saturday night, there will be no fear. Just a familiar foe, who’s also one of the all-time greats.
Miocic and Cormier, one more time. With all of the hype, but without the fans.
”It’s gonna be weird not having a crowd there, but at the same time, I really don’t feed off them,” Miocic says. “It’ll be great to hear my coaches clear this time. But it’s great having fans, because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be where we’re at right now.”