It wasn’t the most fan friendly fight, but Stipe Miocic pulled off the victory against Gabriel Gonzaga on Saturday. Throughout the fight, Miocic pick and chose his spots and exploited a tiring Gonzaga in the later rounds to take the bout. The victory gave Miocic back-to-back wins since his second round TKO loss to Stefan Struve.
Miocic didn’t show much during the fight that we haven’t already seen from him, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at this point in his career. It was already known that he was a terrific striker and that’s what he put on display throughout the fight. He also showed intelligence by not jumping into Gonzaga’s guard (no matter how tempting).
When it comes to the infamous UFC rankings, the fight did just enough to move Miocic up one spot over Mark Hunt. Now it’s time for the Croatian to really see just how good he can be. Miocic needs to fight the winner of Alistair Overeem/Frank Mir. A fight and win over either of those fighters will work wonders for his standing inside the UFC.
If Miocic fights and defeats Overeem, people would be saying he defeated an excellent, brutal striker. If it went the other way and he defeated Mir, he defeated a submission specialist and former UFC champion.
Although Mir and Overeem are currently ranked ninth and 10th in the UFC rankings, they are both well-known amongst the MMA community. Star power can do a lot for a fighter in this business. That’s not to say Mir and Overeem are low-tier fighters, but they are past their MMA prime.
Mir peaked at an early age and hasn’t really adapted to the new breed of fighters. Overeem has seemed to take a turn for the worst since athletic commissions have spiked up the level of testing that is performed on him. With that being said, Miocic can still gain momentum in the division with a win over the former UFC champion and the former Strikeforce champion.