Stipe Miocic was in a bit of a hurry to leave Las Vegas on Saturday night.
It wasn’t because he had just relinquished his heavyweight crown in a first-round knockout loss to Daniel Cormier in the UFC 226 headliner, however. It was, as the Ohio firefighter put it, because he had “bigger fish to fry.”
Miocic is expecting the birth of his first child soon, and he wanted to make his post-fight press conference appearance quick because he was eager to catch a plane back home to be with his wife. While the Strong Style Fight Team standout was disappointed to lose the heavyweight crown, it didn’t seem quite as important under the circumstances.
“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.”
Miocic was the most successful heavyweight champion in the history of the Las Vegas-based promotion. After claiming the belt with a first-round knockout of Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198, he defended the title a record three times with victories against Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos and Francis Ngannou.
“What he’s done has been unbelievable. He broke the record,” UFC President Dana White said. “When that fight started, these guys went right at each other. They stood in each other’s face. Nobody was running, staying away. These guys went toe to toe. When you want to see a great heavyweight championship fight, you couldn’t have wrote it any better than how they fought.”
Added Cormier: “Stipe is such a great fighter that he may go and just knock everybody else out and find himself right back in the same position. Not many guys can beat him. This result changes nothing about Stipe Miocic. He’s a true champion in every sense of the word.”
Miocic had his moments, as he was able to land punches in combination on several occasions against Cormier. He also landed the only takedown of the fight. Ultimately, a Cormier right hook found a home after the combatants broke the clinch and sent Miocic tumbling to the mat, and follow-up hammerfists ended the contest at the 4:33 mark of round one.
“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? It’s part of the game. Heavyweights. Like I say all the time.”
Miocic doesn’t believe that his impending fatherhood had any impact on Saturday’s result. Instead, he chose to credit Cormier for a stellar performance.
“I lost. Plain and simple,” Miocic said. “There’s no excuses. He’s the better man tonight.”
For now, Miocic isn’t thinking about his next UFC appearance. Family will be the focus in the coming months. But that didn’t prevent him from briefly reflecting on his impressive reign at the top of the heavyweight division.
“Amazing. I was the champ, it was great,” Miocic said. “I’m not done. [I’m going to] take some time, enjoy myself.”
Tonight wasn’t my night. I’m feeling good. Thanks to all my fans for the support. Love you guys! See you back in The Land! pic.twitter.com/D2KUR4ex4d— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) July 8, 2018