The UFC heavyweight championship has been notoriously difficult to hold on to throughout its history, but Stipe Miocic proved up to the task at UFC 211, picking up a first-round TKO win over Junior Dos Santos in the main event from Dallas on Saturday.
MMAjunkie had the official time of the stoppage:
In a clash of heavyweights with the kind of power that Dos Santos and Miocic possess, the battle for the center of the cage is always an interesting one. It was apparent early on that the champion would be the aggressor.
While Dos Santos landed a vicious leg kick that hobbled Miocic, the champion was able to land big overhand rights with the challenger up against the fence.
As great as Miocic's performance was, it was equally as disappointing for Dos Santos. After JDS appeared to fix some of his movement issues, Patrick Wyman of the Washington Post noted the challenger returned to some bad habits:
After the bout, the champion showcased his everyman charm that makes him a fan favorite, per UFC on Fox:
As MMAjunkie's Mike Bohn noted, Miocic's knockout means that he's knocking opponents out at a higher rate than just about anybody in the UFC:
In addition to maintaining his status as the champion, Miocic got a bit of personal revenge. The two powerhouses squared off in 2014 in an instant classic, but Dos Santos was clearly the better man.
Now, the champion has more than adequate proof that he has become the best fighter in the division.
The victory for Miocic puts him in rarefied air as a champion of the division. Only four previous heavyweight champs were able to string together two defenses in a row (Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez).
Of those four, none was able to defend the belt a third time, but the 34-year-old believes he's the one who can change that trend.
"I don't really care about how many defenses I have; all I care about is winning," Miocic said, per Bohn. "I love what I do. I'm going to keep winning. I train way too hard and sacrifice way too much to give it up. I'm just different. I get better every fight. I'm improving every fight and nothing is going to change."
One thing Miocic has going for him is the shallow nature of the division. Heavyweight has never been a murderer's row, but right now the contenders are all names Miocic has seen already.
A UFC 213 bout between Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem could determine who he sees next, but he has already beaten both.
With a win over the last man to beat him, Miocic is truly in the driver's seat of the division with a chance to solidify his spot as the most dominant heavyweight champion in the UFC.