Since its inception at UFC 12 when Mark Coleman defeated Dan Severn on February 7, 1997, the UFC heavyweight title has changed hands 19 times. In a division that has been historically significant to the popularity of both boxing and mixed martial arts, the UFC has struggled mightily to find a UFC heavyweight champion who can carry the sport across his broad shoulders.
From #RandyCouture and #TimSylvia to #BrockLesnar and #CainVelasquez, not a single one of these former champions has managed to defend the heavyweight title more than two times. All were thought to be the UFC's next big thing, but none were able to cement their dominance over an era.
The current UFC heavyweight champion of the world, with power, speed and charisma appears to be primed for a run that could cement his legacy and make him one of the most recognizable fighters in MMA as the king of the money division.
Miocic took the UFC by storm in 2016. He fought three times and won each of his fights by knockout. He won the UFC title in May, then defended the gold in September, winning both fights by vicious knockout.
Here's your #StipeMiocic 101, a guide to understanding who he is, what he's done, and where he's headed:
Stipe Miocic Background
- Age: 34
- Height: 6'4"
- Weight: 240 pounds
- Birthplace: Euclid, Ohio
- Nationality: Croatian-American
- Marital Status: Married (Ryan Marie Carney)
- MMA Record: 16-2 (10-2 UFC)
Stipe Miocic's MMA Career Before The UFC
Miocic started his mixed martial arts career with a 17 second knockout of Corey Mullis on February 20, 2010 in local promotion NAAFS. He would win five straight fights by knockout before getting an opportunity to fight for the Cleveland promotion's heavyweight title.
In his last fight before making his way to the UFC, Miocic faced Bobby Brents for the NAAFS heavyweight title on June 4, 2011. The Cleveland fighter won the title in his backyard with a leg kick in the second round that forced Brents to submit.
Stipe Miocic UFC Career
Miocic made his UFC debut against Joey Beltran at UFC 136 on October 8, 2011. It would be the first time Miocic would go the distance but he was dominant against the rough and rugged Beltran. He would go on to win his next two fights by knockout before suffering his first loss against Stefan Struve in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV on September 29, 2012.
TAfter suffering his first loss, Miocic bounced back with wins against Roy Nelson, Gabriel Gonzaga and Fabio Maldonado and was set to face former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos at UFC on Fox 13.
Despite dropping a unanimous decision, the fight was an absolute war and announced that Miocic would be a force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division and a threat to the heavyweight title.
It wouldn't be long as Miocic stopped Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski to set up a title shot against Fabricio Werdum in Brazil on May 14, 2016 at UFC 198.
Stipe Miocic: UFC Heavyweight Champion
Although there was chatter that Werdum could be the greatest heavyweight of all-time, Miocic shocked the world when he became the heavyweight champion in dominant fashion with a one punch knockout of Werdum in the first round.
Stipe Miocic's First UFC Heavyweight Title Defense
Miocic knocked out former Strikeforce and DREAM interim heavyweight champion and K1 World Grand Prix champion Alistair Overeem in the first round at UFC 203 on September 10, 2016.
What's Next For Stipe Miocic?
Miocic will look to defend his UFC heavyweight title for a second time in a rematch with Junior dos Santos that will take place at UFC 211 on May 13.