Daniel Cormier made history Saturday night, becoming the fifth UFC fighter to become champion in two different weight-classes with a first-round knockout of Stipe Miocic. Cormier now holds both the light heavyweight and heavyweight championships concurrently, becoming the second fighter to hold two belts simultaneously after Conor McGregor, who achieved the feat in 2016.
The much-anticipated main event of UFC 226 lived up to the hype for as long as it lasted. Cormier visibly was carrying a lot of extra weight in his move back up to heavyweight, but Miocic still had a significant height and reach advantage. Cormier initially had a hard time closing the distance while Miocic landed some nice combinations from the outside, but Cormier's chin held up. An eye-poke stopped the action briefly as Cormier was given a stern warning for keeping his hands open. From that point, he managed to close the distance more often and started landing shots on Miocic. The reigning heavyweight champ looked visibly out-of-sorts, a stark contrast to the often-composed Miocic we usually see. Miocic forced a clinch and sloppily pulled out of it moving towards his left, running straight into Cormier's huge right hand. Miocic hit the floor hard and Cormier rained down some huge shots, bouncing his head off the canvas before the referee stepped in at the 4:33 mark.
In addition to McGregor, Cormier joins Randy Couture, B.J. Penn and Georges St. Pierre as the only fighters to win championships in two different weight-classes. During his post-fight interview, he grabbed the microphone and called out Brock Lesnar. Lesnar entered the cage and pushed Cormier in an intense scene. They cut promos back and forth, only this won't end in a WWE match. Presumably, Cormier will defend his heavyweight championship against Lesnar at some point this year. Cormier has said in the past that he plans to retire when he turns 40 next March, so it remains to be seen if he'll ever defend his light heavyweight title again.
With Jon Jones still suspended, there are no real contenders in the 205-pound division. Top contender and three-time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson recently signed on to fight against Volkan Oezdemir, who lost to Cormier in January. If Jones returns before Cormier's retirement, it won't be far-fetched to see them fight one more time, but in the heavyweight division.
For now though, Cormier has firmly inserted himself into the "Greatest Of All-Time" conversation along with the likes of St. Pierrer and UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. Cormier remains undefeated at heavyweight and only lost to Jones at light heavyweight. Jones' win over him last year was ruled a no-contest after Jones tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Cormier has been a clean fighter for his entire career and he has truly dominated his competition throughout his career. Defeating Miocic the way he did is no small feat, and Cormier truly deserves the respect as a top-three fighter to ever step foot in the octagon.
Full results from the event can be found below:
- UFC Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Cormier def. Stipe Miocic (c) via knockout (punches) at 4:33 of Round 1
- Derrick Lewis def. Francis Ngannou via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Mike Perry def. Paul Felder via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Anthony Pettis def. Michael Chiesa via submission (triangle armbar) at 0:52 of Round 2
- Khalil Rountree def. Gokhan Saki via knockout (punches) at 1:36 of Round 1
- Paulo Costa def. Uriah Hall via TKO (punches) at 2:38 of Round 2
- Raphael Assuncao def. Rob Font via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Drakkar Klose def. Lando Vannata via unanimous decison (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Curtis Millender def. Max Griffin via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Dan Hooker def. Gilbert Burns via knockout (punches) at 2:28 of Round 1
- Emily Whitmire def. Jamie Moyle via unanimous decison (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)