UFC legacies on line for Miocic-Cormier trilogy title fight

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FILE - In this July 7, 2018, file photo, Daniel Cormier, right, fights Stipe Miocic during a heavyweight title mixed martial arts bout at UFC 226 in Las Vegas. The trilogy fight between Daniel Cormier and champ Stipe Miocic will crown the greatest heavyweight of all time. UFC 252 Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Las Vegas could be Cormier's last fight ever. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

The hype for the third heavyweight fight in the Stipe Miocic-Daniel Cormier trilogy comes with a bit of a bombastic claim -- the winner is not only the champion, but can stake his reputation as the greatest in the history of the division.

“They’re two of the best ever,” UFC President Dana White said. “Saturday you find out who’s the best heavyweight of all time. It doesn’t get any better than this."

It is billed as the super fight to end all super fights -- well, until the next one -- with good reason. The heavyweights slugged it out and traded wins in two crazy fights that had the sport frothing for a third. They’ll settle the score Saturday when Miocic defends the championship against Cormier in the main event of UFC 252 at the UFC APEX complex in Las Vegas.

“We have unfinished business,” Miocic said.

Let others debate where the two truly stand on the list of greats. But what is undisputed is that both have built their resumes to make the short list of contenders for UFC’s No. 1 big man.

The 37-year-old Miocic is a two-time champion and started his second reign when he defeated Cormier last August in the rematch at UFC 241. Miocic (19-3) lost the first two rounds on every judge’s scorecard until he stopped Cormier with a barrage of punches in the fourth.

Miocic reigned as the UFC’s heavyweight champion for 26 months, and he defended his belt a UFC-record three consecutive times before Cormier dethroned him in July 2018 with a first-round stoppage victory. Despite Cormier’s decisive victory, Miocic campaigned for a rematch and eventually received it when Cormier said he “deserved it.”

Miocic continued to work shifts for the Valley View (Ohio) Fire Department during the pandemic and planned to return with the belt still around his waist.