Stipe Miocic tried for larger Octagon for Daniel Cormier trilogy fight

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Am NFL football field is 300' by 160'. A basketball court is 94' by 50'. In professional combat sports, the size depends.

Professional boxing matches take place in a ring that can range from 18'x18' to 24'x24'. That's an increase of 78%. When Muhammad Ali was champ, he fought in a large ring, and Mike Tyson wanted the smallest one. So too in MMA. The UFC uses Octagons 25' across and 30' across. The difference might seem minor, but the second is 44% larger than the first.

UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic has a trilogy fight vs. Daniel Cormier at UFC 252 on August 15th at The UFC APEX, which uses the smaller cage, unusual for a PPV event. During a recent interview with Brett Okamoto for ESPN, Miocic talked Octagon size.

"A bigger cage is better of course," said Miocic. "It is what it is. I'm not going to cry about it. I definitely tried to get a bigger cage, but it wasn't in the cards. What are you gonna do? I'm not worried. My [gym's] cage is the same size, and I've been working on everything.

"There are a lot more angles and stuff, and getting pushed against the cage, you don't have that extra five feet. We've definitely been training wrestling more. He said to bring my wrestling shoes. He'll definitely try to wrestle me, but every fight starts standing, don't forget that.

"We'll see. Take me down then. We're wrestling? I thought we were fighting."

Cormier did indeed recommend Stipe bring his wrestling shoes, and acknowledging that a small Octagon favors his gameplan. 

Miocic's reach is 80" while Cormier's in just 72", less than Conor McGregor's. But when Cormier can reach Miocic, their reach is identical, so the smaller Octagon is plus for Cormier's striking. And it's a plus for his desire to show the world the soles of Stipe's feet.

Win, lose, or draw, Cormier says this will be his final fight. Miocic says the Octagon size won't make a difference. What do you think UG? Is the smaller Octagon going to matter?