I recently wrote an article about Stipe Miocic and how he is poised to break out in 2014. Last night’s performance was definitely his first step in the right direction. There were a lot of questions going into his fight with Gabriel Gonzaga, the most prominent regarding how Miocic would do on the ground, It turns out that Miocic would do just fine, because he scrambled his way out of every position. It was smart, and that is what makes me so impressed with Miocic; he is a smart fighter. He does posses knockout power, but he prefers to pick his shots and turn the fight into a technical battle.
It is a breath of fresh air to see Miocic go into a fight and just act composed. The Heavyweight division has its share of power punchers, and many fighters try to be that. Miocic, on the other hand, knows what he is a good at and realizes that he can use his speed to win fights.
The other factor that really impressed me was his conditioning and strength. Gonzaga was visibly bigger than Miocic, but Miocic was able to handle Gonzaga, not with ease, but he was able to have his way with him a couple times. Not only was he controlling Gonzaga, but he never got tired from doing it.
Miocic has shown that he has a game plan when it comes to the bigger guys in the division. Will this game plan work against serious wrestlers who rule the top of the division? I doubt it, but Miocic is still a young fighter, is getting better and smarter with every fight, and will learn how to adapt to different styles.