The UFC has featured a lot of great heavyweight champions, but with Stipe Miocic’s second title defense over Junior dos Santos this past Saturday night, Miocic tied the record for most heavyweight title defenses in the promotions history with two. The Cleveland native is on his way to becoming one of the best UFC heavyweights in the history of the promotion.

Legendary fighters such as Mark Coleman, Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar were all great UFC heavyweight champions, but their title reigns were all short-lived. The volatile nature of the division can be attributed to the sheer power of these giant men. Taking shots to the head from the biggest men in all of the UFC surely shortens the span of a fighter’s career, especially one’s prime.

That is what makes Miocic’s recent dominance over the heavyweight division so impressive. In his last five fights Miocic avenged his last loss by defeating dos Santos, and has also taken out top contenders such as Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski and Mark Hunt, all by knockout.

Although the former collegiate wrestler used to be known for his stifling ground and pound game, his recent run of knockouts has been indicative of what is truly his most dangerous weapon: his explosive fists.

In his battle against Hunt, which kicked off his five fight win streak, Miocic was relentless. The fight went five rounds before he could earn the stoppage victory, but in the process he broke the UFC record for most strikes landed in a fight, with 361 strikes. This performance was one of his first to really turn heads, and it proved that his stamina would not be an issue in a full five-round championship fight.

Then he took on former heavyweight champion Arlovski. The fight lasted less than a minute. Miocic caught Arlovski with a couple of short right hands, which caused “The Pitbull” to buckle. Miocic cleaned up the mess on the mat and demanded a title shot.

The UFC granted Miocic’s wish by matching him up against the champion Werdum at UFC 198, a formidable opponent, who like Miocic, is as strong on the mat as on his feet. But Miocic made short work of him as well and was able to withstand a few flurries before landing a right cross flush to the face of Werdum, finishing the fight before the first round had even ended.

Miocic’s ability to face adversity and then conquer it has also been a common theme for the current heavyweight belt holder. When he took on Overeem during his first title defense, it was considered one of his toughest tests to date, and Overeem proved to be early on. Overeem clipped Miocic in the first round, which sent Miocic to the floor. Overeem quickly attacked the neck of Miocic and tightened his guillotine attempt.

But once Miocic escaped the submission attempt he was ready to fight with a sense of urgency. He out struck Overeem the rest of the way and finished him with extremely accurate ground and pound from top control.

The champion’s body of work is evidence that he can win by any means necessary. He has the tools to destroy whoever the UFC throws at him, whether he chooses to do it on the mat or on his feet, it is really up to him. Whoever he faces off against I fully expect Miocic to set the record for most title defenses by a heavyweight and become one the greatest UFC heavyweights of all-time.

This article first appeared on and was syndicated with permission.


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