UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is one of the few combat sports athletes who can lay claim to the rarefied title of "Baddest Man on the Planet"— that immortal moniker first claimed by a young Mike Tyson. Considered the best heavyweight in UFC history, Miocic, 38, currently reigns over the sport's biggest division with an iron fist. As UFC fans eagerly await the announcement of Miocic's next challenger, we caught up with the champ to talk about his unusual side job, favorite car, video games and apps, and the MMA legends he considers to be the best ever.
Aside from being UFC heavyweight champ, you famously work as a part-time firefighter and paramedic in Ohio. Why continue to work that job?
I have been blessed and grateful to be a champion in the MMA world. The first thing I did aside from my professional career was become a firefighter/paramedic. School was hard, and I had to take some time off from training, but it was worth it. I am very lucky and proud with everything that I have accomplished in my life so far.
Are there any skills or habits you learned doing that job that helped you become a better MMA fighter?
I have learned many things from being a firefighter/paramedic. Some of which are listening, understanding and making sure I am always doing the right thing. I would say the most important skill though was learning to stay cool, calm, and collected in any situation, which has not only helped me with my career as a paramedic/firefighter, but also with my career as a professional MMA fighter.
You were a Cleveland Golden Gloves boxing champion and a Division 1 wrestler at Cleveland State. But UFC fans may not know that you also played baseball and even received interest from some MLB teams in college. What's the one sport would you would have wanted to play professionally besides MMA?
I have done well. Golden Gloves Boxing champion, playing baseball in college, I am a big guy so I always get noticed. Unfortunately, I did not get picked up for baseball while in college, but I guess that is a good thing because I would not change where I am for the world. I think it worked out for the better.
What's your absolute favorite post-fight meal or activity?
My favorite activity after a fight is just hanging out with family, friends and my coaches. Being around the people I love after a win/lose/draw is so important. We are all in this together. I do love pizza though so I would say that is my favorite post-fight meal if I had to choose.
Are you into shoes, sneakers or watches?
Overall I am not a materialistic guy. More so now because of my wife, since she dresses me I have to dress nice. I like shoes but I don’t go out of my way to buy them. Recently, I have been big into fanny packs. I have an MCM one, and I know it's flashy but I like it because “MCM” are my daughters initials. I have also been wearing watches more and more now. I really like the Apple Watch.
How about a favorite ride?
The Dodge Ram 1500 Rebel is my favorite car. I had one and then upgraded to another Dodge but different model that is not as good, so when the new Dodge Rebel is released, I will be getting it. Those cars are awesome.
What's your absolute favorite travel destination?
There is not one specific spot I like to travel, but I will say I love traveling when I am with my family. When I get to spend time with my wife and daughter I am always happy, no matter where we are or what we are doing.
What are your all-time favorite video games?
My two favorite games to play are Resident Evil and Call of Duty. Honestly, I am a big gamer so I enjoy getting online and playing any game to help me pass time whether it’s during fight camp or on off days when I am not training.
What apps do you use the most on your phone? Are you an Apple or Android guy?
Apple over Android! Most people laugh when I tell them the most-used app on my phone is YouTube, but it's for my daughter. She is obsessed with Baa Baa Black Sheep.
What music do you like to listen to when you train and relax?
Surprisingly, I don’t listen to music when I train or when I am in the car. When I do, it ranges from Machine Gun Kelly, to Taylor Swift to Chicago. I just go with what I am feeling in the moment.
When it comes to MMA, who are the all-time greatest fighters?
Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, to name a few, but there are way too many fighters that I think are “great.” This list can go on and on.
What's the best advice you have for someone who wants to become a pro MMA fighter?
Practice makes perfect. Most importantly though, make sure to have fun with it. At the end of the day, it is a sport that makes you pissed off sometimes, but all you have to do is have fun so you can achieve your goal.
How long do you plan on continuing to fight, and how do you plan to spend your time after you retire?
With technology, I will fight till I am 100. The minute I am not having fun, I will walk away. Right now, I am having fun. I feel the best I have ever felt and it makes me and my family happy.
Once I am done fighting, I will relax by my pool, drink lots of wine, eat lots of meats and cheeses and smoke a bunch of cigars. One thing I will promise to do is I will promise to support and train young fighters. I want to stay as much involved as possible with the sport to be supportive to those who were supportive to me.