Stipe Miocic and Joanna Jedrzejczyk took different paths to their title defenses at UFC 211.
The heavyweight king landed one big blow to take out Junior Dos Santos, while the Polish tactician picked apart Jessica Andrade one strike at a time on her way to victory.
Miocic tied the record for title defenses by a heavyweight champion with two, joining legends Randy Couture, Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez. Jedrzejczyk defended her title for the fifth time, bringing her one defense away from tying the icon Ronda Rousey for most title defenses by a women’s UFC champion.
The stacked UFC 211 fight card delivered from top to bottom, and Miocic and Jedrzejczyk did their part to close the night with sensational and memorable performances.
These are the UFC 211 Talking Points:
Miocic states case as division’s best of all time
Dos Santos welled up with tears several times as he spoke to the media following a heartbreaking loss to Miocic in his bid to win the heavyweight title for a second time.
The Brazilian legend has demonstrated a championship character inside and outside of the Octagon his entire career. Despite the devastation of the moment, Dos Santos was quick to credit Miocic for his performance.
“He’s on the way to be (the greatest heavyweight of all time),” Dos Santos said. “I admire him. If I’m not the champion, I’m glad that he’s the champion. He’s a nice guy and he represents very well the sport’s spirit.”
With three straight knockouts over heavyweight legends and a chance to break the record for title defenses in his next contest, Miocic may already be the greatest heavyweight to fight in the UFC.
Technical, terrific Jedrzejczyk soars further into superstar stratosphere
The biggest reaction during fight week came at Open Workouts when Jedrzejczyk emerged in front of about 250 fans at Mohler MMA club in Dallas. The Polish power puncher absolutely pummels her opponents inside the Octagon, but outside of it she is one of the most beloved champions in UFC history.
As Jedrzejczyk continues to rack up title defenses, improving on her unblemished and spectacular resume, she also continues to elevate as a superstar in a sport that craves standouts.
Against Andrade, “Joanna Champion” was flawless. She mixed up her attacks, landing a career-high 75 leg kicks, breaking her own record of 70 when she faced Valerie Letourneau at UFC 193. Jedrzejczyk’s 225 significant strikes landed against the Brazilian is the second-highest mark in UFC history behind only Nate Diaz’s 238 at UFC 141.
Jedrzejczyk believes her win over Andrade was the signature performance of her career.
“I’m getting older and but I feel this fire,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I want to learn and since I moved to American Top Team I feel like a bird who escaped from the cage. I am very hard on myself everyday; you can ask my coaches. I’m never happy even after a good training session because I can do better. That’s why I keep on defending this belt.”
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC