Taking a Closer Look at UFC Heavyweight World Champion Stipe Miocic

By , 14 Dec 2016, 17:11 PM The Croatian Diaspora

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It has been quite a year for UFC World Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic - TCN's Steve Rukavina takes a closer look on December 14, 2016.

Stipe Miocic is the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight World Champion. This Croatian American is a Mixed Martial Artist (MMA) and became the UFC world champion on May 14, 2016. He captured that crown a few weeks before Lebron James and his beloved Cavaliers won their first NBA championship. Stipe was proud to defend his title on September 10, 2016, in Cleveland before 20,000 cheering fans yelling and cheering for Stee-pay, Stee-pay!

Since entering the UFC in October of 2011, Stipe has had a very impressive 16-2 MMA record and has amassed three Fight of the Night Awards, three Performance of the Night Awards, and one Knockout of the Night Award. The 6-foot-4 inch, 240 pounder has been the main event for six UFC cards and is a worldwide star now, fighting on four different continents.

Professionally, he has benefited from a Croatian connection and Stipe has looked up to fellow Croatian Mirko Cro Cop, the kickboxing legend. As he made his journey up into the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, he looked up to him as as somebody he could learn from and emulate. The Cro Cop gave Stipe some needed advice a few times in his UFC career and especially in 2015 in his preparation for the fight against Mark Hunt.

It has been quite a year for Stipe Miocic, the best day of the year was June 18, 2016, the day he married Ryan Marie Carney in Parma, Ohio! He laughs when he says, “In 2016 I won the crown and my wife Ryan got the ring." The newlyweds just bought a house and the honeymoon continues.

The Croatian American community should be proud that Stipe has such a love and respect for his Croatian heritage. He says that his Croatian family instilled in him the value of being loyal and takes great pride in his loyalty to friends and family. Stipe just visited Croatia in November and although his trip was short, he was able to visit with his father in Croatia and said he had an amazing time both in Zagreb and on the Adriatic Coast.

Stipe also had a fun visit to Toronto in late September and met many members of the very active Croatian community there.

The big questions that loom are when and where will Stipe next defend his UFC Heavyweight crown and there are no definitive plans yet. His business manager, Jim Walter says, “ We are still partnering with the UFC to figure out what the best matchup and timing is so Stipe can provide maximum value to the UFC card." There is speculation within the industry that point towards Madison Square Garden in New York City as a possible location.

Stipe is well known for his accolades inside the octagon, but he’s prominently recognized for his work as a firefighter and paramedic both with the Oakwood and the Valley View Fire Department. He may be considered full time as a UFC martial arts fighter but finds time to keep his community safe as a firefighter. He is also very proud of his charity work with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Stipe was quick to point out that, “Along with making it to the UFC, one of my proudest moments was becoming a firefighter and saving people and helping people is something I always wanted to do.” This is one more badge of honor that Stipe Miocic wears with pride. It’s a classic quote when Stipe says, “It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, you just get back up.” That quote sure sounds like savvy wisdom for all of us.

Stipe has a real love for Cleveland and all its sports teams. He played baseball and wrestled at Cleveland State in college and was a Cleveland Golden Gloves boxing champion too. He played three sports in high school at North Eastlake High School.

Stipe Miocic was recently selected as one of the forty winners of the Croatian American community’s “40 Under 40" program which also included Biljana Lovrinovic, Mario Jurcic and Emily Halasah, also from the Greater Cleveland area. These “40 Under 40” honorees were announced Tuesday, November 29th from the Washington, D.C. based, National Federation of Croatian Americans Cultural Foundation (NFCA) and can be viewed at: www.nfcacf.org

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