UFC 252: Stipe Miocic Happy to Cement Legacy, Addresses Eye Poke

Las Vegas, NV — Dust settled, Stipe Miocic has stated his case as the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time.

In true Miocic fashion, of course, he did most of his talking in the case on Saturday. At UFC 252, Miocic picked up his second career win over fellow great Daniel Cormier, a unanimous decision that saw both men have chances to finish the other.

Miocic (20-3), having won the trilogy, frankly has the best resume in the history of the UFC’s heavyweight division. Wins over Arlovski, Nelson, Overeem, Dos Santos, Ngannou, Werdum, Gonzaga, Hunt, and two against Cormier.

Asked point-blank at the UFC 252 post-fight press conference if he felt comfortable saying he was the greatest heavyweight of all time, Miocic agreed that he was. Though he expects other opinions to differ.

“Yeah, man,” answered Miocic. “We’ll see on Monday, everyone’s going to have a change of opinion. I always get sh*t on it seems like.”

However, Miocic added that he’s happy to have cemented his legacy, though not for the reasons you might think. “Everyone’s talking about legacy, only reason I’m happy to cement my legacy is to show my daughter, and if we have more kids, to show them that hard work pays off,” he stated. “If you do something, if you put your mind and effort into it, you can do good things.”

Later, pointed out that he’d cleared out the old guard of the weight class, in essence a decade of contenders, Miocic had to pause. “I’ll fight anyone. I don’t care. I love what I do,” he said after contemplating that feat.

Miocic first joined the UFC in 2011, and his steady, workmanlike pace and blue collar ethic slowly but surely turned him into a fan favorite. Aside from his loss to Cormier in their first fight, the Ohio native hasn’t lost since a decision defeat at the hands of Junior Dos Santos in 2014, which he later avenged.

He also maintains his role as an active duty firefighter. A position he clearly relishes.

“They sh*t on me more than anyone has ever sh*t on me in my life,” Miocic said when asked about the reaction he gets at the firehouse. “They make me do things I don’t want to do, and it’s all awesome. That’s why I love the fire department. They’re my brothers. They’re awesome. They make me feel like one of them. I don’t get any special treatment, I’m just one of the dudes. No one ever second guesses or says anything. I’m very lucky to be part of such a great department.”

On the fight Saturday, Miocic told media outlets including Cageside Press that “I felt good. I feel like I did a good job. Could have done better, there’s a lot of things I didn’t do great.”

However, he allowed that “when you have two guys that have fought each other three times, that’s going to happen. Not everything’s going to go perfect. I was happy I didn’t start slow, I was happy when I got taken down, I got right back up.”

Heading into the fifth and final round, many onlookers had the fight scored 2-2. Cormier was certainly still in it. However thoughts of the scorecards had no bearing on the champion’s approach.

“No matter if I’m up four nothing, I’m going for that fifth round,” said Miocic. “I don’t care. Because you can never let it go to the judges. So I don’t worry about that. At the end I asked my coach ‘what do you think?’ But I felt confident. When they said 49-46 from two of the judges, I knew I had it.”

Miocic also addressed the nasty eye poke mid-way through the fight, the clearly hampered Cormier from thereon out. It wasn’t the first in the bout; earlier on, Cormier had poked Miocic. The damage wasn’t nearly as severe, however.

“I felt bad. It wasn’t intentional. I even told him, like forty times, I said ‘I’m sorry’ during the fight,” Miocic recalled. Eye pokes, frankly, were a bane to the entire trilogy between Miocic and Cormier. As they are to the sport.

“He did it to me multiple times, but whatever. It wasn’t on purpose. Mine wasn’t on purpose,” continued Miocic. “I honestly didn’t realize I poked him in the eye til I looked up and saw it on the replay. I was like ‘oh! I totally poked him in the eye, that was my bad.'”

Watch the full UFC 252 post-fight press conference with Stipe Miocic above.