Before Stipe Miocic went on a Heavyweight pummeling spree that brought him UFC gold, he had two losses. One was to the skyscraper of a man, Stefan Struve. And the other was former UFC Heavyweight champion, Junior dos Santos. The back and forth fight earned dos Santos the unanimous decision victory and both competitors Fight of the Night honors.
However, the turning point in Miocic’s career came in Australia with a TKO against an always game Mark Hunt. Miocic joined the heavyweight royalty of Fabricio Werdum, Melvin Manhoef and eventually Alistair Overeem of men who have taken out the tough Australian. After that, the former firefighter went on a KO streak that has not ceased, literally mopping up a whos who of competitors all in 2016.
Performing in one fight per quarter last year, Miocic took out in succession three former champions – Andrei Arlovski, Werdum and finally Overeem. All three were finished in the first round.
With an average like that, it is no wonder the champ decided to take the rest of last year off after his September win to enjoy the fruits. Now, trying to stay on track to remain the champion like his home team Cleveland Cavaliers, he returns to redeem his old loss against dos Santos.
Dos Santos hasn’t been as active of late. Between injuries, competitors pulling out and other athletic issues, he has been itching to regain the UFC heavyweight crown he carried from 2011 to 2012. His win streak from 2008 to 2012 stands out as one of the best in MMA history, with wins over Mirko Cro Cop, Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson. His epic first round KO over Cain Velasquez to win the belt will forever go down as one of the best in history.
Now after getting back in the win column after defeating Ben Rothwell via unanimous decision in Croatia last April, dos Santos is ready to challenge for the belt he lost again. For Miocic, it’s a chance to redeem one of his two losses and prove that he truly is the best in a division of killers. It’s been eight months since he has fought, a long time for a man used to fighting every four months.
UFC 211 looks to be a great card anchored with a top tier main event. All eyes will be on the American Airlines Arena in Dallas and the big men this weekend on pay-per-view.