Yes, Stipe Miocic still works as a firefighter when he is not fighting inside the UFC octagon.
The current UFC heavyweight champion is a long-running member of the Oakwood and Valley View Fire Departments in his hometown Ohio, where he works as a dedicated firefighter and a paramedic. Over the years, many have cast doubt over his ability to balance the two professions, but Stipe Miocic has proved them all wrong by giving his best to both his careers and not compromising with either.
In fact, Miocic has occasionally participated in fights to raise money for the Firefighter's Foundation and other charities associated with the cause.
Stipe Miocic: I like being there for a person that needs you
Stipe Miocic has been a firefighter for over a decade now, starting well before he was even a known name in the world of MMA. He now has a net worth of more than $4 million and makes between $750,000 to a million for every fight he contests in, which means he has absolutely no need for a second job.
However, Stipe Miocic does not do it for money. He does it to help people in need. In a 2018 feature by Bleacher Report, Miocic spoke extensively about the sense of purpose that drives him to continue his firefighting profession and take it just as seriously as his other one.
"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," Miocic said.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, firefighting does not distract Stipe Miocic from MMA. In fact, by keeping his mind off the sport when he is not fighting, it helps him de-stress and refocus properly when the time comes.
Moreover, it helps him stay grounded and not let all the glory and glamor that comes with being a UFC champion go to his head.
"I love what I do because I go train, then I come here and it's a total 180. It's calm, collected. We talk about fighting but we also talk about work, about life, what we're having for dinner. It breaks me off from fighting, and it keeps me grounded. These guys check me a lot. I don't act like I'm better than anyone, but they keep me grounded."
True to this word, Stipe Miocic spent a better part of 2020 as a first-responder amid the pandemic that brought the entire world to a standstill. Because of that, his trilogy fight with Daniel Cormier also took a backseat, and rightfully so.
Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier - A Trilogy for the Ages
The UFC has seen its fair share of rivalries, and the feud between Stipe Micoic and Daniel Cormier is certainly one that belongs at the top.
It started when Stipe Miocic lost his heavyweight title in July 2018 at UFC 226. It was Miocic's fourth title defense and he was a favorite heading into the fight with Cormier that was dubbed 'The Superfight'. DC was the light heavyweight champion at the time, and he had gone up a weight class to challenge Miocic for the heavyweight belt.
Due to the sheer size and power advantage and his longtime experience in the heavyweight division, Miocic was expected to win the fight even if it was a tough contest. However, in a shocking turn of events, Stipe Miocic was knocked off his feet towards the end of the first round with a flurry of punches from Cormier.
However, the win was not without its controversy. Daniel Cormier was already warned twice by referee Marc Goddard when he poked Stipe Miocic in the eye. The champion was nearly blindsided when DC caught him with four back-to-back strikes and ended the longest heavyweight title reign in UFC history.
The contest inevitably called for a rematch, which took place at UFC 241 in August 2019. This time, even though Miocic once again got injured in the eye, he did not let the pain or discomfort get the better of him. He avenged his title loss to Cormier with a spectacular fourth-round TKO win. Daniel Cormier was left on the mat by the time the referee called it, after several clean left hooks to the body followed by punches to the head.
With the scores squared up, fans wanted a trilogy. UFC and both the fighters agreed as well. However, it had to wait for the time being as Stipe Miocic had suffered retinal damage to the eye from the injury sustained and needed a few months to recover.
By the time he was medically cleared to participate, the pandemic had taken over the world. Even though DC had already made it clear that the trilogy fight would be his last ever, Miocic was busy with slightly more important things, such as serving as a first responder during the lockdown. Moreover, all the gyms and training centers had shut down, and UFC itself was not certain of whether they could host events or not when the pandemic first started.
In a March 2020 interview with UFC's Megan Olivi, Stipe Miocic clarified that even though he had assumed they would clash in the summer for one last time, there were other factors at play.
"It’s looking like summer, but with this going on right now, honestly I’m not even worried about that. I’m worried about firefighting, and the paramedics out there and I got to do what I got to do. There’s so many people out there that need help. There’s people that are going to stay at home and some of them might get sick."
The trilogy finally happened at UFC 252 in June, 2020, not too far away from the summer that Stipe Miocic had promised. Stipe Miocic retained his belt with a unanimous decision, settling their two-year long rivalry with a clean and clinical victory. However, as had become the tradition for Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier fights, he once again sustained a eye poke in the match, but this time he poked DC back - so they both were suffering from the same fate.
What's next for Stipe Miocic?
With Daniel Cormier now retired, Stipe Miocic can finally turn his attention towards other heavyweight contenders, some of whom have proved their mettle and waited for their turn over the last couple of years. One such is the top contender Francis Ngannou, who has gone through four top heavyweights in his last four fights with knockout wins to secure his title shot.
Stipe Miocic will face Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 on March 27, 2021 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.