Tuesday June 9, 2020 the UFC announced that the Heavyweight Championship will be defended once again as Stipe Miocic will defend against Daniel Cormier. This fight will complete the epic Heavyweight trilogy between Miocic and Cormier. The two first fought at UFC 226 in 2018 which Cormier won the Heavyweight championship with a first round KO/TKO. Then Miocic vs. Cormier II came just over a year later at UFC 241 where Miocic gave Cormier his only loss at Heavyweight and recaptured the Heavyweight championship from Cormier. Neither Miocic or Cormier has fought since their last bout and since then the direction of the Heavyweight title was going to be Miocic vs. Cormier III. Since we entered 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic Cormier and the UFC were ready to go and make the fight. The issue with moving forward to make the fight was the champion Stipe Miocic. Miocic is based out of Ohio and like the rest of the country in April and May everything was shut down so Miocic had no where to train. As well as not having a gym to train in, Stipe is also a fire fighter and has been busy with fighting the Covid-19 outbreak. With the country shut down there was no real rush to have Stipe fight until after UFC 249 in May when #2 Heavyweight Francis Ngannou knocked out #6 Jairzinho Rozenstruik in 20 seconds of round one. This was Ngannou’s fourth straight first round knockout, solidifying him as the next challenger for the belt after Cormier. With the future of the division unknown Ngannou and his camp put pressure on UFC management to push forward with the title picture. Ngnanou even pleaded with UFC management to make his bout with Rozensuik an interim title fight, but that request was denied. Now that the country is reopening and Miocic vs. Cormier III is happening, the big question is now what will happen in the division after the fight.
After this fight Daniel Cormier will retire from fight and focus on commentating for the UFC and working on his ESPN show with Ariel Helwani. So, with DC retiring after this title fight what will happen if Cormier wins the belt. If DC wins, he rides off into the sunset as Heavyweight Champion and the title will be vacated. The fight at the top of the list to make would be #2 heavyweight Francis Ngannou vs. Former champion Stipe Miocic. Or UFC could pit Ngannou against any other of the top ten heavyweights, tough the issue with that is Ngannou has already beaten the rest of the top heavyweights. In the case that DC wins the belt, the bout of Miocic vs. Ngannou would probably be the best route to go. UFC could also go the route of a lit tournament of sorts to determine who will face Francis Ngannou for the vacant belt. As with is DC wins there are also many possibilities to move forward if Stipe retains. If Miocic retains then his next challenger will be Francis Ngannou. That match will be a long waited for rematch, as the two clashed in January of 2018. their first bout when the distance and Stipe won by the descion. It will be interesting to see what Francis has learned from the bout and how he will adapt for his next title fight. Though Miocic vs. Ngannou II is the most likely thing to happen next if Stipe retains, there is a possibility that Stipe Miocic could retire if he retains against Cormier. If Miocic retires then the UFC will be at cross road they would be if DC wins, what to do next with the belt. No matter what happens as the #2 Nagnnou is getting the next title shot, so if Stipe retains then retires, Ngannou would probably face Curtis Blaydes. Like Ngannou, Blaydes is on a four-fight win streak and is rising up the ranking. There are many if, ands, and buts the match makers are going figure out in the future. One thing I can say for sure is that Miocic vs. Cormier III at UFC 252 on August 18th is going to be one hell of a title fight.