UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is arguably one of the greatest heavyweights in the promotion's history. The fighter, based out of Cleveland, Ohio, has been a force to reckon with both inside and outside the octagon.
Not an accomplished loud-mouth, Stipe has always liked to do his talking inside the cage. This is why people might not know some of the baffling facts that have shaped one of the most accomplished fighters going today.
On that note, let us look at five unbelievable facts about the current UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic.
5. If not UFC, Stipe Miocic could have had a baseball career in MLB
Stipe Miocic is considered to be the baddest man on the planet. Before making his mark as the UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic was an outstanding baseball player.
Stipe Miocic was a well rounded baseball player in his college years, playing for both Cleveland State and Trevecca Nazarene University. In 2005, Miocic ended the season with a brilliant .344 batting average with seven home runs and 43 RBIs, leading his college to a Conference title.
Recalling his time playing baseball in college, Stipe Miocic said, "I was quick for a big guy."
Even though having a decorated UFC career wouldn't let him continue playing baseball, Stipe Miocic's love for the game remains strong.
4. Stipe Miocic is a Firefighter Paramedic
Despite having the fame and money that comes along as part of being the UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic is a working class man at his core. When he is not out-boxing and taking down the deadliest heavyweights, Stipe Miocic works as a part-time firefighter paramedic.
Firefighter paramedics are the first responders who perform routine firefighting duties. However, they are also capable of providing emergency medical assistance when needed. Stipe Miocic works as a firefighter and paramedic for the Oakwood and Valley View Fire Departments in his hometown of Ohio.
Stipe Miocic has often arranged fund-raising fights for the Firefighter's Foundation and a few other charities associated with the cause.
In an interview, Stipe revealed a sense of purpose that being a firefighter paramedic helps him to fulfill:
"I like being there for a person that needs you. No matter if they're just a little bit sick or if they're in full [cardiac] arrest or something. Doing the best you can to get them stable and get them to the hospital … The whole fireman aspect, helping people any time, day or night, I just love it. I love every second of it, just knowing there's a chance I could help someone."
When he is done with his MMA career, the future UFC Hall of Famer plans to work as a firefighter paramedic on a full-time basis.
3. First one to break the 52-year-old Cleveland Championship curse
Cleveland, Ohio is a proud city with a rich professional sports history. Until very recently, championships had been fairly hard to come by in the city. When Stipe Miocic became UFC heavyweight champion in 2016, defeating Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198, he ended a 52-year-old Championship drought for his beloved hometown.
Many in Cleveland had hoped that the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers or the MLB's Cleveland Indians would end the championship drought. Instead, it was the local firefighter-turned-MMA fighter Stipe Miocic who brought honour to the city.
Interestingly, about 5 weeks later, the NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers joined the party by winning the NBA championship. Stipe Miocic was the OG who officially sparked off a championship-winning phase for Cleveland.
2. Holds the record for the most title defenses in UFC heavyweight history
The UFC heavyweight division is full of big, bad dudes. The majority of them have serious knockout power. This makes it extremely difficult for heavyweight champions to retain their title for even a limited period.
Stipe Miocic, the former Golden Gloves winner, wrote his name down in the history books by defending his title three times - a current UFC record.
Legendary heavyweights like Randy Couture, Cain Velsaquez and Tim Sylvia have defended their titles twice during their reign. However, it was Stipe Miocic who achieved the feat three times, setting a UFC record. It should be noted that Miocic has defeated huge names in the UFC heavyweight division including Alistair Overseem, Junior Dos Santos and Francis Ngannou to achieve this feat.
1.Stipe Miocic got into MMA as a UFC fighter's sparring partner
Whilst training as a wrestler in high school, Stipe Miocic was brought in as a training partner at a nearby MMA gym. He used his wrestling ability to help prepare a fighter named Dan Bobish. Training at the Strong Style MMA Gym in Ohio, Dan fought in the UFC in 1997.
Having become a sparring partner for Dan Bobish, the Strong Style MMA Gym soon became Stipe Miocic's new home. It remains so to this day.
Training at the Strong Style MMA Gym under head coach Marcus Marinelli, Stipe went on to win the Golden Gloves. He also reached the quarter-final stage of the National Championships.
Coupled with a high-school wrestling background, Stipe Miocic started off his professional MMA career in 2010. He fought six times in a little over a year, and won every bout via KO within three rounds. He was eventually signed by the UFC on June 14, 2011.
The rest is history.