106°F
weather icon Clear

UFC 226 headliner Stipe Miocic looks to continue historic run

Updated July 2, 2018 - 6:44 pm

Stipe Miocic already holds the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses by a heavyweight champion.

He has a chance to significantly bolster his legacy even more when he puts the belt on the line against light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 226 at T-Mobile Arena.

“DC has fought the best in the world,” Miocic said on a conference call. “He’s beat the best in the world. He’s an amazing fighter and to beat him it’s going to be amazing. I’m super excited (about) the whole matchup. We bring fight skill sets to the table and people are super excited for this like I am.”

Miocic’s impressive title reign has stayed somewhat under the radar. He rarely makes waves and simply goes about his business in the cage while maintaining a job as an EMT in suburban Cleveland.

Miocic, 35, knocked out Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos in the first round of his first two title defenses, before grinding out a decision over Francis Ngannou in January to set the record. None of the 18 previous heavyweight title reigns in UFC history had resulted in more than two successful title defenses.

Still, he has yet to emerge as a true global superstar.

“I think every fight you get more respect,” he said. “I think so and some people are going to hate me and some people are going to love me. There’s nothing I can do about that. I just hope more people love me.”

A win over Cormier, an Olympian who was undefeated at heavyweight before dropping to light heavyweight and becoming champion, could provide a major career boost.

It still may not be the highlight of his summer, however.

Miocic and his wife Ryan are expecting their first child, a daughter, this summer.

“She’s so demanding,” Miocic joked of his wife. “I’m like, ‘My gosh, geez. Come on.’ No, she’s awesome. I’m very lucky to have her in my life. She’s an amazing wife and she’ll be an amazing mother. In a couple of weeks we’ll be ready to go here and I’ll be having a little one running around driving me nuts which I can’t wait for.”

He must first deal with Cormier on Saturday.

“He’s the baddest man on the planet,” Cormier said of Miocic. “They call the heavyweight champion the baddest man on the planet and for a long time guys got to have that title for a short period of time because they’d get knocked off. Stipe Miocic has proven that he can sustain his success.”

The bout headlines a pay-per-view event also featuring a featherweight title fight between Brian Ortega and champion Max Holloway.

Felder steps up on short notice

Paul Felder has been tabbed to fight polarizing welterweight Mike Perry on the UFC 226 card.

Perry was left without an opponent when Yancy Medeiros suffered a broken rib during training and was forced to withdraw from the bout.

Felder, who has won his last three fights, typically competes at lightweight. He had been in camp for a July 14 bout against James Vick, but Vick also was pulled from the fight as a replacement for Al Iaquinta against Justin Gaethje next month.

The bout is set for the preliminary card of Saturday’s event, which will air on Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m.

Liddell-Ortiz set for trilogy fight

UFC legends Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz will renew their rivalry more than a decade after they last stepped in the cage against one another.

Golden Boy Promotions confirmed to ESPN on Monday it had inked the veteran fighters to a deal to meet in a pay-per-view bout later this year.

The official date and location still aren’t finalized.

Liddell, 48, knocked out Ortiz in UFC bouts in both 2004 and 2006, but hasn’t competed since 2010 when he retired after losing five of his last six fights.

The 43-year-old Ortiz came out of retirement to compete four times under the Bellator MMA banner, culminating with a submission of Chael Sonnen in January 2017.

This will mark Golden Boy’s first mixed martial arts event.

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
Dana White signs four fighters to the UFC - Video
Four fighters were put under contract with the UFC following their performances at Dana White's Contender Series on Tuesday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Contender Series fighters react to being signed to the UFC
After making history as the first batch of winners to all earn contracts following their performances at Dana White's Contender Series, the fighters react to making it to the UFC.
Dana White signs all five winners at Contender Series
For the first time in the three-season history of Dana White's Contender Series, every winning fighter earned a UFC contract. Maki Pitolo, Joe Solecki, Antonio Trocoli, Hunter Azure and Jonathan Pearce impressed the UFC brass and were awarded contracts by the UFC president.
Jones says he was confident he secured a win over Santos at UFC 239 - Video
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones continued his reign by taking a split decision victory over Thiago Santos at UFC 239. He discusses the close call and entertains the idea of a trilogy bout with Daniel Cormier. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 recap: Jones and Nunes retain their titles - VIDEO
Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes both retained their titles at UFC 239. Jones took a decision over Thiago Santos in the main event and Nunes scored a first-round knockout of Holly Holm. Jorge Masvidal also made promotional history on July 6 by scoring a 5-second knockout over Ben Askren. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Amanda Nunes on her win over Holly Holm at UFC 239 - Video
Amanda Nunes talks about continuing her reign as a two-division champion in the UFC after defeating Holly Holm with a head kick in the first round of their title bout at UFC 239. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239: Masvidal makes UFC history with 5-second knockout - Video
Jorge Masvidal discusses his history-making knockout of Ben Askren at UFC 239 and makes his case for a shot at the welterweight title next. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fighters at UFC 239 react to the 7.1 earthquake - Video
Fighters at UFC 239 talk about what they experienced when the 7.1 earthquake was felt in Las Vegas on Friday night. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Ceremonial Weigh-in Staredowns - Video
All fighters competing at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena faced off against each other one last time before their bouts take place. In the main event, Jon Jones will put his light heavyweight belt on the line against Thiago Santos. In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes will look to continue her reign as the women's bantamweight champion when she takes on Holly Holm.
UFC 239: Jon Jones says he wants to make a statement - VIDEO
Prior to UFC 239, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones says he's trying to challenge himself, set his own records to establish his legacy and explains how he's become comfortable with where he is in his career. He will put his title on the line in the main event against Thiago Santos. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Official Weigh-in Results
All 24 fighters competing at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena made weight at the official weigh-in at the New York-New York hotel-casino on Friday. The main event features UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones putting his belt on the line against Thiago Santos. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Preview: Jones vs. Santos
Prior to UFC 239, the Review-Journal's Adam Hill and Heidi Fang break down the main event between Jon Jones and Thiago Santos for the light heavyweight title, the co-main championship tilt between Holly Holm and reigning bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes, and preview a feature bout between Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 media day: Masvidal says he has faced tougher competition than Askren
Ahead of facing rising UFC welterweight Ben Askren, promotional veteran Jorge Masvidal says he's faced tougher opponents in the past. Askren says don't be shocked by his approach to the fight at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 open workouts: Jones thanks fans for support through his dark times
At UFC 239 open workouts, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones thanked fans for their support during his "controversial moments" and says he wants to be more active through 2020. His challenger Thiago Santos says he will "shock the world" on July 6 and be the new division champion. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 open workouts: Holm wants to shock her naysayers
Holly Holm will look to reclaim the UFC women's bantamweight title when she faces two-division champion Amanda Nunes in the co-main event of UFC 239 at the T-Mobile Arena on July 6. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
White: I'm looking for different things on this show - VIDEO
UFC president Dana White spoke with media following the second episode of the third season of his show "Dana White's Contender Series". He explained why he signed the two fighters he did after their performances and discussed the heat he's taking for not signing Brendan Loughnane last week. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC's Francis Ngannou says he never doubted himself after losses - Video
UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou will face Junior dos Santos at UFC on ESPN 3 in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 29 in a bout that could determine the next title contender. After losing in a title bout to Stipe Miocic in 2018, Ngannou says he never doubted himself. He also talks about meeting former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White on Contender Series contracts: "I'm looking for killers." - Video
On opening night at the UFC's newest facility, the UFC Apex, the promotion signed Punahele Soriano and Yorgan De Castro to contracts after their performances on Dana White's Contender Series. UFC president Dana White explains why he signed the fighters he did. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC Apex is the promotion's newest cutting-edge facility - VIDEO
The UFC Apex will officially open as Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series kicks off on June 19. Here's a look at what the promotion's newest facility in Las Vegas has to offer. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC President Dana White on the UFC Apex, ESPN deal, when Conor McGregor could return and more - Video
UFC President Dana White gave the Review-Journal an exclusive interview where he spoke about the promotion's new facility, the UFC Apex, their new deal with ESPN, when Conor McGregor may return to the octagon and more. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Shevchenko says defending the UFC flyweight belt is her number one challenge - Video
UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko claimed the vacant title when she defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 last December. She will put the belt on the line for the first time in Chicago, Ill., when she faces Jessica Eye at UFC 238 on June 8. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC title contender Jessica Eye says her move to Las Vegas gives her an edge - Video
Ohio native Jessica Eye says she moved to Las Vegas to get an edge in performance ahead of facing UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 238 in Chicago, Ill., on June 8. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
UFC 239 recap — RJ ringside podcast

There have now been a few days to digest the performances of Amanda Nunes and Jon Jones as two of the greatest fighters in UFC history defended their belts at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.

 
UFC 239: Jon Jones escapes Las Vegas with belt

The light heavyweight champion was unable to take control of his main event bout against Thiago Santos, but earned the favor of two of the three judges to earn a split decision.

 
UFC 239: Amanda Nunes turns the tables on Holly Holm

Nunes knocked out Holly Holm with a similar technique to the one that led to Holm’s greatest triumph in the cage on the same card Jorge Masvidal records the fastest knockout in UFC history