Daniel Cormier reminded everyone who would listen this week that — despite being out of the heavyweight class for more than four years — he had never lost a round in the division.
The light heavyweight champion didn’t even need that long to claim the heavyweight title with a first-round knockout of Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC 226 on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Cormier dropped Miocic as they separated in the middle of the cage and followed up with hammerfists to close the door on Miocic’s reign over the heavyweight division at 4:33 of the opening round.
The decisive blow, which appeared to be an elbow strike as he followed through on a punch, was largely the result of Cormier’s film study.
“I noticed Stipe backs out of the clinch with his hands a little low,” Cormier said. “I was a heavyweight for a long time. I left the division and never knew what I could become, but tonight I got the answer.
“I’m a two-division champion, baby!”
Cormier, who joins Conor McGregor as the only fighters in UFC history to simultaneously hold belts in two weight classes, will be a heavyweight for at least one more fight. Former champion Brock Lesnar, a part-time fighter, accepted Cormier’s challenge from the front row before entering the cage for a brief faceoff and skirmish.
They will apparently meet later this year, though no date was announced.
“Push me now,” Cormier said after Lesnar shoved him. “You’ll go to sleep later.”
Miocic was the one who suffered that fate on Saturday night.
Both fighters were able to find a home for their punches early on, but Cormier found his comfort zone once he was able to get inside against his taller opponent.
He wrapped his arm around the back of Miocic’s neck and tried to work the body until he found the opening when Miocic broke free and tried to back away.
“I am 39 years old,” Cormier said. “I’ve been second a lot of times, but today I finally accomplished everything. It is the most amazing thing I ever experienced.”
Miocic was the first heavyweight champion in UFC history to successfully defend the belt three times.