Stipe Miocic isn’t known for being boisterous or hyperbolic when things are going his way, and his attitude towards his first loss in three-and-a-half years was equally muted.
Coming off of his third consecutive successful defense of the UFC’s heavyweight championship, a promotional record, Miocic dropped the title to Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 226 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday. Miocic suffered a first-round knockout, an outcome that few could have predicted, even considering Cormier’s own sterling reputation.
Miocic and his wife are expecting their first child soon, and the former heavyweight king was asked at the evening’s post-fight press conference if impending fatherhood may have distracted him. He gave full credit to Cormier for the win and dismissed the notion that any external factors affected his performance.
“I lost. Plain and simple,” Miocic said. “There’s no excuses. He’s the better man tonight.”
That’s not to say that Miocic’s incoming daughter is a non-factor; if anything, the thought of starting a family is already helping to soothe the wounds that the now ex-champ suffered in his fight with Cormier.
Miocic now hopes to rest, recover, and spend time with his newborn. He couldn’t provide a time frame for his return, but expressed an interest in fighting Cormier again someday.
“It sucks, losing is not fun at all. It sucks,” Miocic said. “But in perspective, I look at it — I’m going home right now to my beautiful wife, who’s having my child. There’s better things in life than losing. It sucks, I want to come back and get a rematch, of course. Right now, it’s DC’s day, good for him.”
There was plenty of drama after the fight, with former UFC champion Brock Lesnar returning and having an in-cage confrontation with Cormier. The assumption is that Lesnar would have challenged Miocic instead if the Ohio native had been victorious, but Miocic has no interest in dwelling on that possibility nor picking a winner in a Cormier vs. Lesnar bout.
After all, few divisions are more difficult to make predictions for than heavyweight, where all it takes is one good shot to turn a fight on its head. Miocic was reminded of that on Saturday, as the finishing sequence happened so fast that he could hardly even recall what it is that Cormier hit him with.
“I think I was winning the fight, I took him down one time for a little bit, I was holding him against the cage,” Miocic said. “He hit me with some good shots and I was hitting him with some good shots, we were going back and forth, but I thought I was backing him up a lot more and then he caught me with a right hand, or whatever it was — elbow I think it was, I don’t know, something.
“A good shot. What are you gonna do? Heavyweights. Like I say all the time.”