Two-time UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic returns to action at UFC 260 looking to repeat the trick and defeat Francis Ngannou for the second time.
Miocic cemented his place at the top of the UFC’s heavyweight division after defeating rival Daniel Cormier to seal the trilogy between the pair, and now he faces the resurgent Ngannou, who has left a trail of unconscious victims in his wake to earn himself a second shot at the title.
UFC 260 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.
Ahead of his main event clash with Ngannou on Saturday, we take a look at seven fights that have helped define Miocic’s UFC career.
Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 65 | May 10, 2015
After being beaten on the scorecards by Junior Dos Santos in December 2014, Miocic’s status as a legitimate heavyweight contender was on the line when he flew Down Under to take on hard-hitting Hunt in the main event in Adelaide, Australia.
Faced with one of the most feared knockout artists on the planet, Miocic showed up in supreme condition and ready to go all five rounds. That conditioning proved crucial, as the Ohio man pushed the pace from the start and kept up a record-breaking strike rate that overwhelmed Hunt en route to a fifth-round TKO finish.
Miocic landed a staggering 361 strikes over the course of their main event bout, a UFC record, and the future heavyweight champion outlanded the legendary Kiwi striker by 315 strikes. That, too, set a new UFC record.
His performance proved that he was ready for a shot at the heavyweight title, and after he followed up with a 54-second finish of former champ Andrei Arlovski in his next fight, Miocic was granted his shot at championship gold at UFC 198.
Watch Stipe Miocic vs. Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 65 on UFC Fight Pass
Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198 | May 14, 2016
Miocic headed into enemy territory to challenge Werdum and punished the Brazilian in clinical fashion to capture the title in just over half a round in Curitiba.
Werdum had previously shown his improved striking in his TKO victory over Hunt at UFC 180, and showcased his world-class jiu-jitsu in his title-winning submission of Cain Velasquez in Mexico City at UFC 188. Those wins seemed to give Werdum huge confidence against Miocic, and he set about the contest seemingly determined to score a quickfire win on home soil.
But Miocic had other ideas, and, after the pair traded early kicks and Miocic stuffed a Werdum takedown attempt, the Brazilian came charging forward looking to connect with a multi-punch combination.
Miocic calmly backpedaled, then planted his foot and threw a right hand that connected perfectly with the onrushing Werdum, knocking him out instantly.
It was a stunning KO that silenced the arena in Curitiba, and led to wild celebrations from the usually-reserved Miocic, who charged around the octagon shouting, “I’m a world champion!” I’m a world champion!”
Miocic had reached the top of the heavyweight mountain, and he would go on to do something no other heavyweight champion, before or since, has ever done.
Watch Fabricio Werdum vs. Stipe Miocic at UFC 198 on UFC Fight Pass
Junior Dos Santos at UFC 211 | May 13, 2017
Miocic cemented his position as heavyweight champ with a first-round knockout of Alistair Overeem at UFC 203, which led to a rematch with the man who had defeated him two and a half years earlier.
Junior Dos Santos outpointed Miocic back at UFC on Fox 13 in a bloody battle in December 2014, and another tight encounter was expected when “Cigano” stepped up to challenge for the belt at UFC 211.
But Miocic was a different animal in the rematch as he blasted Dos Santos out of contention in less than half a round in Dallas to register back-to-back title defenses. It showed Miocic’s evolution as a fighter but, despite the clear changes and improvements to his fighting arsenal, it was the same old Stipe on the microphone after his victory.
Despite his one-round demolition of the last man to defeat him at the time, Miocic’s happiness was as much to do with his upcoming kitchen renovations as it was for his TKO victory. He even threw out a Mother’s Day shoutout to all the moms watching, as he showed that he may be a terrifying prospect inside the cage, when he’s off the clock, he’s as down to earth a character as you could wish to meet.
Watch Stipe Miocic vs. Junior Dos Santos 2 at UFC 211 on UFC Fight Pass
Francis Ngannou at UFC 220 | Jan. 20, 2018
Francis Ngannou blasted his way into title contention with a string of devastating knockouts, but despite the hype surrounding “The Predator” heading into their title fight at UFC 220, defending champ Miocic was as calm and confident as ever. That confidence, it turned out, was warranted.
Miocic avoided Ngannou’s hardest shots and mixed up his own strikes with takedowns as he bullied Ngannou for virtually the entire fight to show that knockout power alone isn’t enough to beat the best heavyweights in the world.
Miocic produced one of the most dominant displays seen in a UFC title fight to claim a landslide decision on the scorecards, polling scores of 50-44 from each of the three octagonside judges as he completely nullified Ngannou’s power, then beat him up over the course of 25 one-sided minutes.
As well as making a definitive statement to the rest of the heavyweight division, Miocic’s victory snapped Ngannou’s 10-fight win streak and set a new UFC record as he became the first man to register three consecutive heavyweight title defenses in UFC history.
Watch Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou at UFC 220 on UFC Fight Pass
Daniel Cormier at UFC 226 | July 7, 2018
Stipe Miocic’s championship reign came to an abrupt end at UFC 226 as an inspired Daniel Cormier caught the champion cold and finished him inside a round to capture the heavyweight title.
Miocic fended off Cormier’s early attempts to close the distance and drag the action to the mat. But he was powerless to stop a short elbow over the top, which dropped him to the mat. Cormier applied the finishing touches to secure the victory and claim the title.
After the fight, a crestfallen Miocic stood leant against the cage as Cormier and Brock Lesnar engaged in a theatrical post-fight exchange. The WWE superstar even took time to trash Miocic during his monologue on the mic.
It was a nightmare evening for Miocic, who had been hailed as the UFC’s greatest heavyweight champion of all time heading into the fight, but saw his status in tatters after a crushing first-round knockout defeat.
Miocic’s previous tenure as champion allowed him the option of an immediate rematch, and the Ohio native was determined to make sure history didn’t repeat itself in the second meeting at UFC 241.
Watch Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier at UFC 226 on UFC Fight Pass
Daniel Cormier at UFC 241 | Aug. 17, 2019
Cormier was supremely confident that he would repeat the feat in the rematch at UFC 241, but Miocic arrived looking all business, and produced a performance full of grit, determination and octagon smarts as he switched up his gameplan mid-fight and earned a stoppage win in the championship rounds to reclaim the title.
The action went back and forth through a grueling slugfest as the two heavyweights traded huge shots in a gripping rematch in Anaheim. But, after spending most of the fight targeting Cormier’s chin, Miocic found the crucial breakthrough by going downstairs and ripping the champion to the body.
Some thumping shots to the midsection saw Cormier start to slow down and, after one particular left hand landed perfectly under the ribs, Cormier visibly wilted.
Miocic’s corner saw it, and so did the former champion. Roared on by his team at octagonside, he loaded up and landed a succession of crushing body shots that eventually opened up the opportunity for Miocic to land flush to Cormier’s chin as he moved back upstairs and unloaded a salvo of heavy punches to finish the champion and reclaim the title in brilliant fashion.
Miocic celebrated with an Irish jig as he returned to the top of the heavyweight tree once again. Now he’ll look to end his trilogy with Cormier at UFC 252 and cement his legacy as the greatest UFC heavyweight champion of all time.
Watch Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic 2 at UFC 241 on UFC Fight Pass