Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic both enjoy such dominance over their divisions (light heavyweight and heavyweight, respectively) that there aren’t really that many interesting opponents for either man to fight. Both won their UFC 220 title fights against overhyped power punchers with comical ease, and now that Volkan Oezdemir and Francis Ngannou have to get back in line, there is no next obvious challenger in either weight class. Alexander Gustafsson? Fabricio Werdum? What’s the point? Fight fans crave new matchups, which explains partly why Ngannou and (to a lesser extent) Oezdemir had the hype they did going into their title shots. Cormier’s a misfit at light heavyweight anyway, so the obvious solution is to make him and Miocic fight each other.
As improbable as cross-division superfights are, everyone’s wish is coming true: Cormier will challenge for Miocic’s belt at UFC 226 in Las Vegas. It’s the second time two current champions have ever fought each other (the same card could also host the third and even fourth, if T.J. Dillashaw fights Demetrious Johnson and Cris Cyborg fights Amanda Nunes).
Miocic is a good six inches taller than Cormier, who’s even perhaps short for a light heavyweight. But Cormier has made his name as one of the best wrestlers in MMA, and he’s beaten taller opponents his entire career. Cormier also fought at heavyweight throughout the first few years of his early career, abandoning the division so as not to fight his friend Cain Velasquez. This fight will be the shit, and if the rest of the card shakes out, it could end up one of the best UFC cards in years.