Forget Jon Jones, forget Alexander Gustafsson, forget Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, forget Anderson Silva. Forget Dan Henderson and Josh Barnett and Frank Mir. Of all the world-class fighters UFC light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier has met in the cage, he considers his UFC 226 opponent, UFC heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic, to be the best of the bunch.
“I think he’ll be the best,” Cormier said on the UFC 226 conference call this week (transcribed by Damon Martin for MMANytt). “He is who he is for that reason that he’s the baddest man on the planet. They call the heavyweight champ the baddest man on the planet and for a long time, guys got to have that title for a short period of time because they would get knocked off.
“Stipe has proven that he can sustain his success and also we got to watch him from day one,” he continued. “You watched a guy that went to war with [Joey Beltran]… Stipe went to war with him, and as he continues to fight, you see him evolve. That’s why I’m fighting him.”
Cormier continued, riffing on the scale of his upcoming challenge:
“This is the biggest fight of my career cause I’m fighting the heavyweight champ of the world,” he said. “The most successful heavyweight champ in the world. I think Stipe is great. Do I think he’s the best heavyweight of all time? No. I still believe Cain Velasquez is but I do believe he’s the most successful heavyweight champion of all time. Yeah, it’s a big fight.
“I’ve been in a lot of big spots. I’ve fought Jones twice. I fought at UFC 200. I fought main events and Stipe has too, but I’ve fought in a lot of big, big spots and I believe this one ranks as high if not higher than everything I’ve ever competed at.”
Do you think Daniel Cormier can defeat Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 and add another belt to his crowded mantle?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/1/2018.