When I first heard that Stipe Miocic was fighting Fabio Maldonado, I thought the same thing that everyone did: Why? Miocic is a top-ten Heavyweight, and I don’t think that Maldonado is even ranked at Heavyweight. It seemed like a dumb fight to make, but the UFC was in a pickle after Junior Dos Santos dropped out of the fight, so I guess Maldonado saw an opportunity and jumped on it. I bet he even thought that he could win the fight — that poor sap. Miocic made easy work of him, kind of like what everyone expected, but Maldonado proved a huge point to the UFC audience: there is a big difference between a Light-Heavyweight and a Heavyweight.
From the first punch that Miocic connected on, you could immediately tell that Maldonado had never felt that type of power before. Maldonado’s chin, which is usually amazing, was not even in the same universe to deal with Heavyweight power. The night didn’t work out for Maldonado but it showcased the striking massive in the weight classes. That the power differential exists was something that was always assumed, but we, as the fans, took it for granted. When we see someone get knocked out we attribute that to power, but we never really understand how much power it takes. We always just saw the result, and we never really had a test so we can say “oh, wow, that guy hits so hard.”
Well, we do now. Unfortunately for Maldonado we found out that there is a huge difference, and for that, we have to thank him.