The heavyweight division has always garnered heavy hitters. However, it hasn’t always produced fighters that could keep winning streaks alive. On Saturday evening, at UFC 252, Stipe Miocic defeated Daniel Cormier by unanimous decision and earned the moniker of ‘greatest UFC heavyweight champion of all time.’
With that, the question comes into play — is he the greatest MMA champion of all time?
The question was asked to our Twitter audience and they answered pretty favorably.
In your opinion, is Stipe Miocic the greatest heavyweight champion of all time? #ufc252
— MMASucka (@MMASucka) August 16, 2020
A number of staff members at MMA Sucka were posed that question and their answers are below.
Is Stipe Miocic the greatest heavyweight of all time?
Stipe Miocic has a decent shout for heavyweight GOAT. His record is filled with top-quality wins and he’s proven to have endurance, power, and toughness that few heavyweights possess. However, I don’t think that puts him past Fedor Emelianenko’s quality of opponents. I feel like the ‘Last Emperor’ is able to edge it out with his wins over Mirko Cro Cop, Rodrigo Noguiera, and Kevin Randleman. If Miocic is able to defend his belt against Francis Ngannou then he will have secured the heavyweight GOAT status.
There was a lot of talk heading into this fight about the UFC heavyweight GOAT status being on the line. To me, Stipe Miocic was the UFC heavyweight GOAT no matter the result of the third fight with Cormier. His success in the third fight cements it even further. Heavyweight might not be the most skilled or deepest division in the UFC, but it has always been a division where you don’t stay champion for long. For Miocic to have the most title defenses in the division’s history, lose the belt, win it back, and defend it again is very impressive. Miocic is the greatest heavyweight in UFC history and it isn’t close.
Now, the bigger question becomes whether or not Miocic is the heavyweight GOAT in all of MMA. Fedor Emelianenko is the obvious elephant in the room for this discussion. For full disclosure, I only started watching MMA in 2017 and have only seen a handful of Emelianenko’s fights. That said, I’m going with Miocic as the MMA heavyweight GOAT. This mostly comes down to the strength of competition. While Emelianenko faced a slew of big names and racked up legendary moments, he didn’t face as many competitors with the depth of skill of Miocic’s opponents. Miocic has wins over Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Junior dos Santos, and the two wins over Cormier. All of those guys would probably be the most skilled name on Emelianenko’s resume if he were to beat them, save for maybe Mirko Cro Cop. Because of that, along with my opinion that Miocic would win the head-to-head matchup, he narrowly edges out Emelianenko as the MMA heavyweight GOAT.
Stipe Miocic will always hold a special place in my heart because he headlined the first live UFC card that I ever watched. Even though he lost to Stefan Struve that night, their careers have gone on completely opposite trajectories. Since that night, Struve has gone 4-7 and has never been close to a title shot. Miocic, meanwhile, has gone 11-2 and avenged both of his losses via finish in later fights. Along the way, he has beaten a litany of former heavyweight champions and title challengers. In a division notorious for its volatility, he has been a constant force above the rest. There is no question that he is the greatest heavyweight of all time, and he still has a chance to even improve on that.
The resume of Stipe Miocic is second to none. The argument that comes into play is the man, the myth, the legend — Fedor Emelianenko.
“The Last Emperor” paved the way for smaller heavyweights, and beat some of the best in the division at his time. MMA purists will always say Emelianenko is the true heavyweight GOAT, however he was never able to prove his worth inside the octagon.
It’s very hard for me to make the call between the Russian and Miocic. But after beating Cormier back to back and tallying the names in the largest fight promotion in the world that he has, I will tip my cap and say Cleveland’s own is the true heavyweight GOAT.
In a word, yes. Stipe Miocic (on paper) is the heavyweight GOAT. With the most title defences in history, avenged two of his three losses and notching nine post-fight bonuses, it’s difficult to argue. Yes, his opponents may not be as high level than some past champions, but you can only beat what’s in front of you.
Although Fedor has a phenomenal resume and ‘that’ PRIDE run was stuff of legend. Not only did he defeat his opponents, but finished them too. Also, despite having six losses, he’s never been out-pointed to a decision loss. If Fedor was in his prime at the moment, the fight to make would be Miocic vs Fedor to truly debate the heavyweight GOAT.