UFC stripped Jones in September of its light heavyweight title for a third time and reinstated Cormier as the 205-pound champion after Jones' latest failed doping test. UFC made the call after the California State Athletic Commission changed the result of Jones' victory over Cormier at UFC 214 in July to a no-contest. Miocic had already knocked Alistair Overeem in a back-and-forth slugfest at UFC 203, in which the champion won by first-round knockout.
For the first time since UFC 44 in September 2003, the lineal titles in both the locally-based promotion's two biggest, and traditionally most popular, weight classes are at risk. A former Olympic wrestler, Cormier was untroubled by his 28-year-old opponent's superior reach and quickly took the fight to the ground again early in the second round, ending it with a flurry of right-hand strikes to force the stoppage.
With a touch of the gloves, the two hulking warriors met in the center of the Octagon. Miocic fired a quick leg kick. Ngannou was able to pop back up out of the hold, but Miocic maintained clinch until stepping out of it. He looks for more, though doesn't quite connect.
Ducking under, Miocic secured the takedown and worked his way to half-guard., planting a series of shorts punches and elbows in the process.
Miocic then managed a attractive takedown that took the 31-year-old to the unfamiliar surroundings of the canvas where he looked in real trouble. Ngannou threatens with a choke but Miocic escapes. Miocic finished off the round with another takedown against the fence. Ngannou defended once more, then commenced throwing bombs. Miocic spent the second and third rounds just banging away as Ngannou covered up, hoping for one last desperate knockout punch. With 90 seconds left, Cormier stung Oezdemir and appeared to have him hurt, but the Switzerland native, whose right eye was now marked up, fired back.
"It feels good to get back in here and get a victory", he explained.
Many did, but Miocic knew he had the skills to rise to the occasion. Cormier raised his hands in triumph as UFC President Dana White wrapped the title belt around his waist. DC transitions into the single leg and brings the challenger to the mat early.
In the final break, Miocic was told to play it safe to ensure a brilliant and wide points win, the American's eye even seemed to have healed itself after a first-round beating. Working for position, the champion plastered Ngannou's face with another knee before breaking free.
Both fighters were winded by the third round and Ngannou looked sleepy as he whiffed on a few blows in the fifth. Stunned, Miocic instinctively dropped down and secured the takedown.