UFC 226: Daniel Cormier wins UFC heavyweight title; calls out Brock Lesnar

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
Daniel Cormier celebrates after defeating Stipe Miocic in a heavyweight title mixed martial arts bout at UFC 226, Saturday, July 7, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS – Throughout his athletic career, Daniel Cormier was always one of the best. The big win, the one that would have confirmed his greatness, so often seemed to elude him.

It happened in wrestling against the likes of Cael Sanderson in college and Saeid Ebrahimi on the international scene. It happened earlier in his MMA career in light heavyweight title fights against Jon Jones.

It didn’t, though, happen on Saturday, as Cormier became only the second man to hold two UFC weight classes simultaneously when he knocked out Stipe Miocic at 4:33 of the first round with a short right hand in the main event of UFC 226 at T-Mobile Arena.

“I was a heavyweight for a long time and I left the division,” Cormier said. “I never knew what I could become but tonight I got the answer: Heavyweight champion, baby!”

Last July, Cormier was knocked out by Jones with a kick to the head, though Jones tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and the fight was changed to a no-contest.

When Cormier was interviewed in the cage that night, he shed tears as he spoke to Joe Rogan.

On Saturday, on the greatest night of his athletic career, he recalled that moment.

“I was crying in this Octagon almost a year ago to the day,” Cormier said. “I went from that to become the heavyweight champion.”

The fireworks weren’t over after the right hand put Miocic down and out. Ex-champion Brock Lesnar, who has been in the WWE, entered the ring and he shoved Cormier.

Lesnar referred to Miocic as a piece of crap and then said to Cormier, “I’m coming for you mother [expletive]!”

White said “Yes,” on Thursday when asked by Yahoo Sports if he expected Lesnar to return. Never, though, did it seem it would occur under such circumstances.

Cormier saw him at ringside, grabbed the microphone from Rogan and walked around the cage, addressing the crowd by himself.

“Listen to DC! Listen to DC!” he said, referring to himself by his nickname. “There is a guy I’ve known a long time: A wrestler, an All-American, a former UFC heavyweight champion. Brock Lesnar, get your ass in here!”

The crowd roared and that set the stage for a massive pay-per-view.

The right hand that landed on the chin, though, made Cormier one of just five men – along with Randy Couture, B.J. Penn, Conor McGregor and Georges St-Pierre – to win titles in two different weight classes. He joins McGregor as the only to hold them at the same time.

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