Las Vegas, NV — Daniel Cormier knows a thing or three about current UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. After all, the pair competed three times, with Cormier winning the first bout, and Miocic the next two.
Which makes D.C. a very interested observer at UFC 260 this weekend, where he’ll work as an analyst in the broadcast booth. Miocic faces Francis Ngannou for the second time in the card’s main event. It’s the first fight for Miocic since the trilogy with D.C., after which Cormier retired.
Speaking to media outlets Friday following the UFC 260 weigh-in, Cormier addressed marquee match-up atop UFC 260. “For Stipe, it’s about further distancing himself in the conversation about the greatest heavyweight of all time,’ he suggested. “For Francis Ngannou, it’s a matter of him really exploding and being something we haven’t seen in the heavyweight division since Brock Lesnar. Because a guy that knocks people out like Francis does, he garners more attention than your normal heavyweight champion.”
Upon Lesnar’s arrival in the UFC in 2008, he was an instant star, with millions of pro wrestling fans following “The Beast” in his MMA endeavor. To date, he remains the biggest draw heavyweight division has seen. Reaching that sort of level would be quite the feather in the cap (not to mention money in the bank) for Ngannou.
Of course, Ngannou has a tough test ahead. Miocic is the consensus greatest heavyweight the UFC has ever seen. In the running, along with Fedor Emelianenko, as the greatest heavyweight of all time. “The Pedator” has been saying the right things ahead of his rematch with Miocic, after losing their first fight in 2018. He’s improved. He’s different. Has a better mindset.
“How do we know that it’s a different Francis? You want to take him at his word,” Cormier said Friday. “Francis is a great guy. He’s a great fighter. And he has pulled himself up by his bootstraps out of Africa, to become one of the best heavyweights in the world.” But, Cormier continued, “if he doesn’t win the belt tomorrow, then that’s what he’s going to be — just one of the best heavyweights in the world. Just a guy that wasn’t a champion. So he’s to be commended for what he’s done, but tomorrow he’s going to have to show a different level to his game to beat Stipe Miocic. Stipe is that good.”
UFC 260 takes place Saturday, March 27 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.