Stipe Miocic says he’s been hit “way harder” than he was in KO loss to Daniel Cormier

Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier, UFC 252, Jon Jones

UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic says he’s been hit “way harder” than he was in his 2018 knockout loss to Daniel Cormier.

Miocic and Cormier’s 2018 meeting marked the beginning of one of the greatest heavyweight rivalries in MMA history. In that fight, Cormier, the light heavyweight champion, moved up to heavyweight to challenge Miocic, the heavyweight champ, for his title. Cormier wound up winning that fight by first-round knockout, but in hindsight, Miocic doesn’t believe the fight-ending blow was particularly hard.

“I felt confident in the first fight,” Miocic told Kelsey McCarson of Heavy.com this week. “I felt good. I felt like I was landing punches and doing a lot. It’s just that he caught me with a punch I didn’t see. It’s the fight game. Anything can happen. He just caught me with a good punch.

“Listen, he hits hard but I’ve been hit way harder,” Miocic said. “It was right on the button, and I didn’t see it.”

After Cormier swiped the heavyweight title from Miocic in 2018, the pair met again in 2019. In that rematch, Miocic reclaimed the belt with a fourth-round TKO. While he started slow, he eventually spotted an opening that led to the fight-ending sequence.

“I usually don’t start so slow in a fight,” Miocic said. “It was terrible. I was so mad about that. I started so slow and it took me a while to get moving.

“But in the fourth round, I saw an opening and I had to take it to see what happens,” Miocic added

Now tied a win apiece, Miocic and Cormier will battle for a third and most likely final time in the main event of UFC 252 this weekend.

If Miocic prevails, his only intention is continue reigning over the UFC heavyweight division.

“After I win, I will continue to be the heavyweight champion of the world,” he said.

Who do you think will come out on top when Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier collide for the third time on Saturday night?