Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic 2: Head-to-Toe Breakdown
With Brock Lesnar's retirement, the UFC has moved forward with a heavyweight rematch for UFC 241 in Anaheim on August 17.
The two first met at UFC 226. Daniel Cormier was the light heavyweight champion at the time and moved up to challenge Stipe Miocic in a true superfight. It lasted four minutes and 33 seconds. Cormier landed a crushing right hand over the top that floored Miocic, and he followed up with a couple more shots on the ground to shut out Miocic's lights.
Cormier defended the title against Derrick Lewis and was looking for a big fight against Lesnar. Meanwhile, Miocic has been biding his time until he could get the rematch he deserved.
Will Miocic be able to right the wrongs and reclaim the heavyweight crown, or will it be a repeat performance for one of the sport's most beloved fighters?
To answer that question, we need to break this fight down from head to toe. Let's look at each separate category and determine who holds the edge before making an informed prediction on who walks out of Anaheim as the undisputed heavyweight king.
This is your head-to-toe breakdown for Cormier vs. Miocic 2.
The first fight largely took place on the feet, and that is where the second fight will take place as well.
Miocic has an eight-inch reach advantage. It is a significant advantage, and it reared its head during their first meeting. Cormier had to find openings to get inside and exchange. And he did. Per UFCStats.com, Cormier out-landed Miocic 25 to 24, with an edge in striking accuracy of 67 percent to Miocic's 47 percent.
That is because Cormier is the better pure striker. It is only Miocic's reach advantage that prevents Cormier from running away with this category. Miocic is competent enough to develop a game plan around his size and reach advantage.
Both have developed into quality boxers over time, but Cormier's boxing is more polished and nuanced than Miocic's. The first fight ended with Cormier baiting Miocic to drop his defense and landing a clean right.
Cormier knew what he needed to do and executed it early. Whether one round or five, Cormier's superior technique can win him the fight via a knockout or by out-pointing Miocic on the feet. Miocic is still a danger and could end the fight with one blow, but Cormier holds the edge.
Miocic scored the only takedown of the first fight, but there is no question Cormier is the better grappler between the two.
He is an Olympic-level wrestler, and Miocic wrestled at Cleveland State in college. That is a major difference in levels.
If the fight ends up against the fence in prolonged grappling exchanges, Cormier will find a way to dominate the fight. That is what he does best. Cormier can grind on Miocic from the outside position and will eventually find a way to put Miocic on his back.
This is the area of the fight that is a clear no-brainer.
Cormier almost takes this category by default.
Miocic has basic submission skills, but he has never utilized them inside the cage. The 36-year-old's only submission win came by way of his opponent submitting to strikes before Miocic made the leap to the UFC. Miocic is more concerned with defending submission attempts and getting back to his feet to strike.
Cormier is not opposed to working for the submission finish. He has shown that in title bouts by submitting Anthony Johnson and Derrick Lewis.
The champion will take the opportunities as they come.
If Cormier takes Miocic to the mat, he won't immediately look for chokes, but if the opening presents itself, he will sink one in. A proven track record puts another one on the board for DC.
Cormier's X-Factor: Getting Inside
Much like the first fight, Cormier will need to get inside of Miocic's reach to either land significant strikes or take him down. He was able to do it in the first encounter, but Miocic will be wise to the techniques used and be prepared to avoid a repeat performance.
The good news? Cormier is an experienced veteran who is not a one-trick pony. He has various tools he didn't show in the prior one-round fight.
Miocic's X-Factor: Controlling the Pace
If Miocic gets into a long exchange or turns the fight into a brawl, Cormier is going to flatten him again. If Miocic gets overzealous, Cormier will take him down. The former heavyweight champion will need to keep a steady, slow pace to control the fight.
If Miocic dictates the pace, he can pick Cormier apart from the outside with his length and wear on Cormier.
It's a tall order. Cormier is aggressive and will come forward. Miocic will need to stop his forward movement and control the tempo of the fight. While Cormier holds advantages in each category, Miocic is far from out-gunned. He'll have his chances to reclaim his belt with a slow to moderate pace.
Miocic's reach advantage and new game plan will keep Cormier guessing—for the first round.
Cormier will figure it out in those first five minutes, adjust and end the fight in the second frame. He is far too smart a fighter to be confused by what Miocic offers. While the former champion is one of the best in the world, he doesn't have the unique skills to pose a huge threat to Cormier.
Don't expect a carbon copy of the first fight, though.
He won't be able to land the one-punch knockout. Instead, it will be a more tactical TKO based on his wrestling and ground-and-pound. Cormier will put Miocic against the fence, take Miocic down and pummel him until the referee steps in to save Miocic.
It could be Cormier's final fight in the Octagon, but the victory may also set up a third and final fight against Jon Jones. Another dominant showing creates more intrigue and establishes Cormier as an all-time great.
Prediction: Cormier def. Miocic by TKO in the second round