Ever since the UFC acquired Stipe Miocic, fans everywhere have been saying that he has a very bright future ahead of him in the Heavyweight division. He came in as a burning hot prospect and really proved that he had the right stuff until he was knocked out by Stefan Struve. Despite the big loss, Miocic showed that he had matured as a fighter after battering Roy Nelson.
He turned a serious corner in the fight. He showed the world that his striking had taken a huge step, and he used technicality and intelligence to defeat his powerful opponent. That win, and another impressive victory over the surging Gabriel Gonzaga, set up Miocic for a date with destiny in Junior Dos Santos. Unfortunately, Dos Santos got injured and, out of left field, Fabio Maldonado decided to take it upon himself to step up a weight class and take on Miocic.
This is bad news.
Maldonado is most dangerous when he has nothing to lose. He relishes wars and loves to be aggressive. This could all play directly into Miocic’s game plan of just out-maneuvering him or counter-striking, but I am not quite sure. Maldonado is the toughest guy in the UFC. If you don’t believe me, watch the beating he took against Glover Teixeira; no man should even be breathing after that, let alone wanting to continue to fight. It is not out of the realm of possibility for Maldonado to catch Miocic with a wild punch and knock him out. Miocic is supposed to win this bout handily, and he better because if he doesn’t he could find himself taking another fight before he gets a big one against a top-five opponent.
Miocic finds himself in a no-win situation here. It is a fight against a wild opponent with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Miocic better keep his wits and fight intelligently, because if he doesn’t, all of his dreams could be taken by a man who has no business being in the Octagon with him.