When Stipe Miocic stopped Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 241, he not only reclaimed the UFC heavyweight title, but also his reputation as the top heavyweight in mixed martial arts. At least, that’s the widespread opinion.
Not everybody is convinced.
Bellator President Scott Coker is not buying Stipe Miocic as the top heavyweight in MMA. In his eyes, Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader is the rightful owner of that title.
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) August 18, 2019
“Ryan Bader is the best heavyweight fighter on the planet,” Coker wrote on Twitter shortly after Stipe Miocic won at UFC 241.
Bader, of course, also owns the Bellator light heavyweight title. The former UFC light heavyweight contender captured Bellator light heavyweight gold in 2017, when he defeated Phil Davis by split decision. He then defended the title once, stopping Linton Vassell, before joining the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix in a bid for heavyweight gold. After dominating Muhammed Lawal and Matt Mitrione, Bader met heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko in the tournament finals, and earned the vacant title with a first-round knockout. He’s 27-5 overall and 3-0 since moving to heavyweight.
Stipe Miocic, to compare, is 19-3 overall. All of his fights have occurred in the heavyweight division. He first captured the UFC heavyweight title in 2016, with a first-round knockout of Fabricio Werdum. He then defended it with first-round knockouts of Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos and a decision win over Francis Ngannou. By defending the belt three consecutive times, he became the longest-reigning champion in the history of the UFC heavyweight division.
Stipe Miocic lost the title to Cormier in July of 2018, succumbing to a first-round punch, but reclaimed it at UFC 241. Other highlights of his heavyweight resume include victories over Andrei Arlovski, Mark Hunt, Gabriel Gonzaga and Roy Nelson.
Who do you consider the sport’s top heavyweight? Stipe Miocic, Ryan Bader, or somebody else?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/20/2019.