Coming into the fight off a loss to Stefan Struve from last September, Miocic stepped up on just a few weeks notice to face Nelson when the UFC needed another big fight after injuries claimed the main event and another featured bout on the card.
What resulted in the cage was a far cry from what many predicted would happen as Miocic put on a masterful performance, battering Nelson around the cage for the majority of 15 minutes. Miocic unloaded on Nelson time and time again. To his credit, the former Ultimate Fighter winner refused to go down, although it wasn't for lack of trying by Miocic.
"I expected that as soon as we accepted the fight, the first thing out of my coach's mouth and all my friends and teammates were like get ready for three rounds," Miocic told Bleacher Report on Monday. "I sat there and I was hitting him with shots, but I wasn't going to try and like over exert myself and get an adrenaline dump to where I can't even keep my hands up. Just picked my shots and everything was going great."
Miocic punished Nelson repeatedly with great counter shots. Once he could get an opening, he kicked down the door and flooded in with more strikes. Even in the third round, when it was clear he was up on the scorecards, Miocic didn't slow down or try to coast his way to victory.
He continued to pop shot Nelson whenever the opportunity afforded itself. When it was over there was no doubt who stood tall as the victor.
"Your best defense is an offense," Miocic stated. "I kept him back on his heels and not give him the chance to throw anything big. That's what he does, he throws hard. I don't care who you are, it's a heavyweight with four ounce gloves on. It's going to hurt."
The win vaults Miocic into the top ten of the heavyweight division—a spot he briefly occupied last year when he was a rising star with an undefeated record before his loss to Struve in September 2012.
With the win over Nelson, who was ranked in the top five of the division before this fight, Miocic is in an enviable position most heavyweights would love to be in right now.
As highly regarded as the win over Nelson was on Saturday night, it didn't change how Miocic approaches his fighting career or the next step he'll take in the UFC. Since day one in the fight game, Miocic has never been about calling out other fighters or asking for title shots.
Some fighters and journalists would disagree with that approach because many times in MMA the loudest one in the room often gets exactly what they want (see Chael Sonnen), but Miocic isn't going to change who he is to suddenly become a loud braggart just to get attention.
"Wherever they want to put me. I'm here to fight and when it's time to fight, I fight," Miocic stated. "Whoever they want me to fight. That's how I am, I'm a fighter. Tell me who to fight."
Miocic says he will enjoy a little down time now that the fight is finished, but won't stay out of the gym for too long as he awaits the call from the UFC for his next trip to the Octagon.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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