DALLAS – Stipe Miocic not only avenged his 2014 loss to Junior Dos Santos (JDS) but also completed his second successful title defense in the UFC’s Heavyweight division with a first round TKO of the former champion. In the mega event UFC 211 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, the pride of Ohio displayed his striking prowess against an accomplished boxer in former UFC heavyweight boss JDS. Miocic was clearly the aggressor in the fight as he peppered the Brazilian with crisp and speedy punches until a straight right floored Dos Santos. The champion followed up with a barrage of left punches until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 2:22 of the opening round.
This was the fourth straight Round 1 KO/TKO victory for the former Cleveland State University wrestler after finishing former champs Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum, and Alistair Overeem in his last three fights. Moreover, with this win, Miocic ties the UFC record for most consecutive title defense victories in the heavyweight class, at two straight wins. The other division strap holders with two straight successful title defenses are Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez. This means that the American-Croatian needs just one more triumph to set a new record, and become the greatest heavyweight of all time in the UFC.
Miocic now improves to 16-2. He last tasted defeat in 2014 after JDS scored a unanimous decision win. Miocic’s only other loss was at the hands of Stefan Struve way back in 2012.
UFC President Dana White believes Miocic could be the greatest ever in the division. “Stipe could be the greatest heavyweight of all time after a second successful title defense, and a fourth straight first round KO win. I think he will get there. He gets better at every fight,” said White, who was elated at the huge success of UFC 211 in Dallas that drew 17,834 in attendance, and gate sales of over two million dollars.
Miocic was spectacular with his boxing even against a former boxer in Dos Santos. His hand speed is what sets him apart from other strikers in the heavyweight class. He too, after all, was a former Golden Gloves titleholder. Stipe holds the record in the division for most strikes landed in a single fight with 361 versus Mark Hunt.
When asked who he wants to fight next, Miocic said he never chooses his opponents. “I don’t choose opponents. I’ll fight anyone.” No. 1 contender Werdum and No. 3 ranked Overeem will tangle in UFC 213 on July 8, and the winner will likely challenge Miocic for the strap next. Both Werdum and Overeem went down in the opening round against the champion just last year.
Cain Velasquez, the former heavyweight king, could be an interesting match-up for Miocic. He is a well-rounded fighter with quick hands and excellent footwork. He is very skilled in boxing, Muay Thai and wrestling. But injuries have hampered Velasquez’s return to the Octagon. Last year, he took a first-round TKO win over Travis Browne. But since then, the Mexican has been sidelined with injuries.
Miocic’s amazing winning run in the heavyweight surely puts him on the elite list of great fighters in the division. And his four straight KO wins in the first round could be a record as well in the UFC’s heavyweight group.
A win in his next fight makes him the greatest of all time.
“I have to thank my coaches. If it weren’t for my coaches we wouldn’t be here right now, we wouldn’t be walking around with this bad boy (the belt). It’s an amazing night. I’m going to celebrate with my wife, my family and my friends. I just have to keep winning, you’re only as good as your last fight.”
— jude p. roque (@CoachJudeRoque) May 14, 2017
In the co-main event, UFC Women’s Straw weight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk likewise retained her belt after a dominant unanimous decision victory over No. 3 ranked Jessica Andrade. The Polish sensation put on a striking clinic for five rounds and there was very little the Brazilian challenger could do to turn the tables on the champion. Now 14-0, Jedrzejczyk ties Ronda Rousey with this win for most consecutive successful title defenses in the women’s category at five. White added that Joanna could be the next face of the UFC’s women’s division after Rousey.
“I didn’t even know. This is amazing. I respect Ronda so much as a fighter, but more as a human. She’s amazing. It’s a pleasure for me to stand next to Ronda in this category. Female MMA is taking over the UFC. A few years ago Dana said that there weren’t going to be female fights in his organization, but here we go. We’re headlining shows, we put on a show, and like Ronda said, punch like a girl and fight like a girl.”