Stipe Miocic has never been the kind of champion to tout his own accolades but after dominating Francis Ngannou on Saturday night at UFC 220, he’s finally ready to call himself the greatest of all time.
Miocic earned a lopsided decision over Ngannou, who was actually favored to win the fight on the betting lines despite the fact that he was facing a two-time defending UFC heavyweight champion.
That only served as motivation as Miocic dismantled the highly touted Cameroonian born knockout artist to not only retain his title but become the first heavyweight in UFC history to defend the belt three times.
In Miocic’s mind, that puts him into a league all his own.
“Now it means something to me. I beat the guy that everyone thought I couldn’t beat,” Miocic said at the UFC 220 post fight press conference. “So it made it that much sweeter. This guy’s a phenom, he’s one in a million, well guess what? He lost. He lost to a Midwest boy that’s 40 pounds lighter than him.
“And I’m the greatest heavyweight. I defended it three times. No one’s ever done that.”
In the lead up to the fight, Miocic said very candidly that he felt that the UFC wanted him to lose to Ngannou thanks to the fast rising heavyweight star becoming the talk of the town after he nearly decapitated former title contender Alistair Overeem in his last fight.
Miocic took it all in stride and then dominated Ngannou for five straight rounds en route to breaking the title defense record in the UFC.
Given the hype surrounding Ngannou, Miocic can now say that beating him the way he did absolutely made the victory that much better and now he can proudly say that he’s the best heavyweight to ever do it.
“F–k yeah I do,” Miocic said when asked if he believes he is the greatest of all time. “No one’s ever defended it three times. I had a killer’s row of fighters to get to it. I had a hard path to get to the title. Then I had a hard path to defend the title. I had top dudes. I had to fight [Andrei] Arlovski and then I had to fight [Fabricio] Werdum in Brazil in front of 45,000 people, I mean crazy. Next guy [Alistair] Overeem, killer, K-1 champ, hits like a ton of bricks. Next guy JDS [Junior dos Santos], who I lost to, and then I got a guy that’s a phenom. Nothing’s ever easy. Fighting’s not easy but I never had an easy road. Everything was hard.
“That’s why I love being from Cleveland because nothing’s ever given. It’s earned.”