How Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic match up ahead of UFC 252 with trilogy fight set to settle bitter feud
DANIEL CORMIER and Stipe Miocic prepare to complete their historic trilogy in UFC 252's headliner.
Promoter Dana White is adamant the winner not only walks away with the heavyweight belt, but lays claim as the division's greatest of all time.
Cormier, 41, won the first fight in 2018 with a first round knockout.
But Miocic, 37, patiently waited a year for the rematch and after losing the first three rounds he came back to attack DC's body and set up a finish in the fourth.
Here SunSport details where the fight can be won and lost for either man in what could be the UFC's most prestigious fight in the blue ribbon division.
The champion made a crucial mistake in the first fight as he came out of a clinch with his hands down only to be KO'd with a short right hook on the chin.
In the rematch Cormier was actually the quicker on his feet, winning the striking exchanges at the range.
Miocic admits he struggled to find rhythm and suffered heavy legs until the fourth round.
The Cleveland Ohio firefighter must learn from his mistakes in those five rounds shared with Cormier and use his height and reach advantages.
That means keeping the action at range but utilising his boxing skills by beating DC to the punch, not allowing him to land over the top.
Coming up against the Olympic wrestler, Miocic's grappling ability will be called into question but successful takedown defences could cause Cormier to tire.
That would allow the champion to find more success in his punches, especially to the body.
Miocic landed 15 out 16 strikes to DC's torso, which eventually forced him to drop his hands and open up a right hand upstairs.
Despite Cormier's overall skillset, playing to his strengths in what could be his final fight are crucial.
Closing down the distance and backing Miocic up with jabs and grappling exchanges could open up opportunities for the challenger.
Cormier's hooks over the top of the guard after clinching exchanges will be important especially as he's the shorter fighter, meaning he is always aware of where the target is.
If DC can fight how he did for the opening three rounds of the rematch, not allowing Miocic time to breathe, it swings in his favour.
Stopping the champion from dictating the pace will be crucial as Miocic has the physical advantages.
If Cormier can take down his opponent and mount offence from the floor, it offers him a good chance to bank early rounds in the judges eyes.
Running up an early lead through grappling could also force Miocic to take more risks in the later rounds.
That would be the time for Cormier to hunt for a KO, when the champion is most committed to offence.
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Despite coming in as the former champion set to retire, Cormier is still a slight favourite, having won four of the five rounds between the pair.
But one eye on retirement has proven to be the downfall of many in the past, with very few managing to ride off into the sunset on a win.
Should Cormier have it in him to put every ounce of his fighting ability into the five rounds, he has proven his ability to grind out wins by stoppage or points.
But a fresher and slightly younger Miocic has what it takes to break down DC with strikes while even matching his wrestling.
The champion can quite easily claim to be the favourite, and has the tools topull off consecutive wins if a game plan is kept to.
But pound-for-pound contender Cormier has already had the better of Miocic in their two shared fights, giving him a physiological advantage.
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