Stipe Miocic has cemented his position as the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time. However, the two-time UFC heavyweight champion is a slight +105 betting underdog heading into the title fight rematch against Francis Ngannou at UFC 260. Despite being the longest-reigning heavyweight champion in the promotion's history, Miocic has failed to convince the oddsmakers.
The level of competition is the primary reason behind Stipe Miocic's underdog status. However, that is only one half of the equation. Losses to weaker competitors during an initial run in the UFC tend to stick with champions and top contenders even after reaching the absolute top. It strips them of the aura of invincibility that other dominant fighters carry around them. Stipe Miocic's knockout loss to Stefan Struve - in his first main event fight back in 2012 - has done just that. But Miocic has proved the oddsmakers wrong in the past and here are four previous times that Stipe Miocic was an underdog - and won anyway.
4. Stipe Miocic vs Fabricio Werdum
Stipe Miocic earned his first title shot after a six-year-long journey in the UFC. He entered the UFC 198 showdown against champion Fabricio Werdum as a +135 underdog. Werdum had won the heavyweight title from the consensus greatest UFC heavyweight at the time - Cain Velasquez. Defeating Velasquez was a momentous achievement that legitimized Werdum as a probable long-reigning champion. However, Miocic spoiled the party for Vai Cavalo. As the champ rushed forward with reckless abandon in the first round, Miocic knocked him out to become the UFC champion. Stipe Miocic's crowning was one of the biggest upsets of 2016.
3. Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou 1
Stipe Miocic defended the title against legends of the sport - Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos - and overcame adversity while doing so. However, it was not enough to convince the oddsmakers when he was slated to defend the title against a red-hot Francis Ngannou at UFC 220. Ngannou's terrifying knockout power was the sole attribute that made it difficult for everyone to bet on Miocic. The champ defended the heavyweight title against 'The Predator' as a +140 underdog. Miocic displayed a high fight IQ and his ability to take shots as he was hit cleanly by Ngannou multiple times without getting dropped.
2. Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier 2
Miocic's first title reign came to an end with a first-round KO loss against light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 226, immediately after defeating Francis Ngannou. After the much-anticipated fight between Daniel Cormier and Brock Lesnar failed to materialize, Miocic got a second crack at the title. Once again, Stipe Miocic was the +115 betting underdog heading into the UFC 241 rematch, on account of the loss he suffered against the new champ. After three high-paced rounds, Miocic made a sudden adjustment and exploited DC's vulnerability to body shots. Miocic landed a whopping 11 liver punches on Daniel Cormier in the fourth round and knocked him out at the 4:09 mark to reclaim his title.
1. Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier 3
Both Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier went into the trilogy fight at UFC 252 as betting favorites. However, DC was a slight favorite (-117) as he was getting the better of Miocic (-103) in most of the exchanges during their UFC 241 rematch - up until the point that Miocic started going to the body in the fourth round. The trilogy fight unfolded most unexpectedly as Miocic showed more improvement in his game and scored a unanimous decision win to close the trilogy.