Stipe Miocic came out of Brazil with the UFC Heavyweight Championship on Saturday night, knocking out Fabricio Werdum in the UFC 198 main event. Despite the success he had in the fight, he didn’t agree with a narrative out of the event that Werdum took him lightly, and thinks he was actually caught off guard a bit at times.
“No. I thought he was a lot quicker than I expected,” Miocic said on the Fox Sports 1 post-fight show. “He was throwing some combinations. He’s a lot quicker than I thought. I was hitting him with some shots. He started chasing me and I hit him with the right hand and he didn’t like it very much. He started chasing me and I caught him with a good right hand. I have power.”
Miocic said he appreciated the crowd’s fervor for their countrymen, but didn’t feel affected by the venue or the stage. Still, he says his new position may not hit him entirely until he gets home.
“The Brazilian fans are amazing,” Miocic said. “They support their fighters. They back them up. If you go to see the Cleveland Browns, it’s the same way… He’s a champion for a reason. I’m here for business. When I go in there it’s me against another guy. It doesn’t matter if he’s at home or if I’m at home.
“[As for being Champion,] maybe tomorrow when I get home to Cleveland and show my mom the belt, maybe that’s when it’ll sink in.”
Penick’s Analysis: Werdum had actually cracked Miocic shortly before that final blow. Both fighters were a bit rocked when that rush happened, and Miocic happened to be the beneficiary of a well timed punch. It was a fantastic moment for him, one hell of a highlight reel finish, and now he gets to call himself UFC Heavyweight Champion. To do it on that stage in front of that crowd was even more stunning, and it’s a fantastic accomplishment for him.
[Photo (c) Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today Sports]
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