On July 8th, the UFC is returning to Las Vegas as the light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is challenging Stipe Miocic for the UFC heavyweight title.
This Sunday the question – “who is the strongest?” will have a definitive answer. The quest for this answer is embedded into our DNA and prevalent throughout history and popular culture. Why did Godzilla fight King Kong? Why does Batman need the Joker? Because in the final hour – once the dust has settled – there can only be one left standing and it is in our nature to know: who is the strongest?
Stipe Miocic – Heavyweight Champion
Stipe Miocic is the most successful heavyweight champion the UFC has ever seen having defended his title against some of the fiercest men on the planet. Having successfully taken the belt from Fabricio Werdum in 2016, he is the longest defending heavyweight champion in UFC history. Earlier this year Miocic faced the universally feared Frances Ngannou.
Ngannou was born in Cameroon and worked in a sand mine from the age of 12. Ngannou’s father was a known street fighter which inspired him to pursue the sport of boxing before emigrating to France at age 26. When he finally made it to the UFC he was – in the best intentions of the word – a freak. Dana White, the UFC president famously declared that Ngannou’s punching power has the same impact as colliding with a Ford Focus at full speed.
“Francis Ngannou has the world record for the most powerful punch his punch is the equivalent to 96 horsepower which is equal to getting hit by a ford escort going as fast as it can and it’s more powerful than a 12-pound sledgehammer swung from overhead” – Dana White.
Ngannou scared all – bar one – Stipe Miocic. When the two finally met inside the cage Stipe looked like it was just another day at work before proceeding to dominate Ngannou at every turn. Making the 260lb Cameroon native look like a defeated child when the unanimous decision was being read.
Daniel Cormier – Light Heavyweight Champion
Daniel Cormier is the UFC’s light heavyweight champion. A former Olympian in freestyle wrestling, he trains out of the fabled American Kickboxing Association with the likes of Cain Velasques (the former heavyweight champion), Luke Rockhold (the former middleweight champion) and Khabib Nermagamedov (the current lightweight champion). Cormier is constantly amongst people who are testing and improving his abilities.
The winner of the 2012 Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Corimer is currently undefeated in the heavyweight division. Cormier has only been defeated by one man: John ‘Bones’ Jones, a man who is widely considered to be the greatest of all time. Bones has defeated Cormier twice. The first win was in a close five-round decision and in the second, Bones knocked Cormier out after devastating him with a brutal head kick. In the days after Cormier was defeated, news came in that John Jones had tested positive for a banned substance and the win was deemed a ‘no contest’. Jones was stripped of the title and Cormier regained his championship. Daniel was not pleased to have his title back in this fashion but regained confidence as the champion when he defended the belt months later against Volkan Özdemir. It’s a true shame that this is the story that has come to define one of the greatest of all time, but if Cormier is anything, he is a man who rises against adversity.
He personifies ‘the grind’. Shaped by the notion that there are stronger, bigger and more talented people in competition with him, no one works as hard as Daniel Cormier.
“No matter how bad things get, eventually the sun is going to shine. If you just keep at it, pursuing your goals, eventually good things happen to decent people. For a person who is set on his goals, good things will happen. Everyone deals with adversity, it’s how you bounce back from it.” – Daniel Cormier.