Stipe Miocic says he’ll warn the referee for his upcoming trilogy fight with Daniel Cormier to be on the lookout for illegal eye pokes.
The heavyweight star first faced off against “DC” in 2018, at UFC 226. In that fight, Cormier picked up a first-round knockout win to earn the UFC heavyweight title.
A year later, at UFC 246, the pair met again. In their rematch, Cormier put on a stellar performance, however the body shots he endured at the hands of Miocic eventually caught up with him and he was finished by TKO in the fourth round, surrendering the title to his rival.
According to Miocic, in their last two fights, Cormier has landed multiple eye pokes. He claims that, in their first fight, the eye-poke he suffered early on impacted his performance and subsequent loss
“That hurt, and it definitely f–ked me up a little bit,” Miocic said (via Bleacher Report). “I didn’t realize the referee was warning him about it until after, when my coaches told me. They were all pissed. No excuses, but that s–t hurt. And it’s not like it was just a little poke, it was knuckle deep.”
Cormier completely denied claims that it was intentional and called it “f*cking stupid.”
“I’m not purposely poking him in the eye,” Cormier told MMA Fighting. “That first fight, I kind of poked him in the eye, but the issue with that was sometimes when I spar and because I’m shorter, I have the 16-ounce gloves, I can kind of flick my hand towards guys and hit them when they’re a little bit out of range. I think that’s what happened the first time.”
Miocic might now believe that Cormier’s eye pokes weren’t intentional, but he told ESPN that he will be telling the referee to keep an eye out anyway.
“I think it’s a concern in any fight, you know, you don’t want to get your eye poked, it’s not fun,” he said. “It hurts. It definitely can mess with your vision.
“You know, if it wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t intentional. He said it wasn’t so I guess that I believe him, we’ll see what happens in the next fight here in about two and a half weeks. But you know, I’m just going to try and keep my calm and not get poked in the eye.
“Yes [It is something I’ll bring up to the ref]” Miocic said. “Watch out for the eye pokes. Yes pretty much, plain and simple honestly.”
Who do you think will come out on top when Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier meet for a third time?