Daniel Cormier’s UFC championship run is over.
The Oklahoma State alum lost the UFC heavyweight championship to Stipe Miocic by fourth-round TKO of their rematch in the UFC 241 main event Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Miocic stunned the two-time NCAA All-American wrestler at OSU and two-time Olympian with a left hook to the body then hit him with a right, causing the champion to stagger to the cage. Miocic then doused Cormier with a flurry of punches until referee Herb Dean called the fight in 4 minutes, 9 seconds.
The loss snaps Cormier’s (22-2, 1 NC) eight-fight unbeaten run since January 2015, when he fell by unanimous decision to Jon Jones at UFC 182. Cormier’s third-round knockout loss to Jones in their rematch in July 2017 was later overturned to a no contest result due to Jones’ failed drug test.
Cormier looked strong early against Miocic (19-3) by using leg kicks, left-handed collar ties and hand grabbing to set up jabs and punches. He also dumped Miocic to the mat for a takedown and controlled the remainder of the first round on top with some hammer fists at the end.
Miocic opened the second with a powerful punch and some stiff shots, but Cormier continued to relentlessly move forward and find space to connect with Miocic’s face. Cormier appeared to deliver crisper and more solid punches to take the round.
Miocic started to back Cormier up in the third with combinations, but wasn’t causing enough damage to stop the former Cowboy from retaliating. Miocic, to the surprise of many, was able to record a takedown with leg sweep against the cage, but Cormier quickly came to his feet and shrugged it off. As clock ticked down on the round, Cormier continued to pressure with his jab to gain some momentum heading into the championship rounds.
But it was Miocic that came out hunting by delivering left-handed shots to the midsection to wear down Cormier. The shots finally started to cause Cormier to stop coming forward and the former two-division champ’s short, precise jabs and shots became swooping punches that didn’t connect as much.
Miocic then ended the bout with another left to the body, which caused Cormier to shuffle backwards and Miocic poured it from there for the stoppage.
Cormier hinted at retirement before this fight, but wasn’t ready to put down his gloves after the fight. Instead, he gave credit to Miocic and said he’d need time to make a decision on his future.
“I think he made a great adjustment like you said with the body shots. He hit me with a number of right hands and I really didn’t feel anything so I may have taken those for granted,” Cormier said. “He’s a fantastic champion. Congratulations to Stipe and his team.
“You don’t make decisions based on emotions. This is a tough pill to swallow. At 40 years old with so many other opportunities, I need to speak to my wife and we need to make an educated decision as to what we’re going to do.”
In addition to fighting, Cormier serves as a UFC commentator and analyst as well as the head wrestling coach at Gilroy (California) High School in the Bay Area.