Stipe Miocic is a celebrated athlete both inside his hometown of Cleveland and in the entire martial arts world. The former UFC champion holds the most consecutive heavyweight title defenses (three) in the promotion’s history, and many consider him to be the best heavyweight fighter the UFC has ever had.
Now, Miocic will be returning to the jiu-jitsu world to compete at Fight 2 Win 110 in Cleveland on April 27. Miocic, who also works as a firefighter, will be going up against police officer Aaron Howard in a purple belt gi match, which will serve as the co-main event of the evening.
Fight 2 Win CEO Seth Daniels often tries to get the biggest and best names in martial arts on his cards, but in this case, he says that it was actually Miocic’s coach who reached out and said that the UFC fighter wanted to be on the card. “I’ve met Stipe multiple times that we’ve gone to Cleveland,” says Daniels. “He’s always there and supports the game. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him compete in the gi, so he’s putting himself at a bit of a disadvantage, but it’s not like he wants to be the top grappler in the world. He wants to fight in front of his friends and family.”
Miocic’s purpose for competing on the card goes far beyond hometown glory, too — his main purpose is to raise awareness and funds for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, which states that its mission is to “honor and remember America’s fallen fire heroes, to provide resources to assist their families in rebuilding their lives, and work within the fire service community to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries.” Donations to the organization can be made here.
Daniels says that he wasn’t surprised at all to hear that Miocic wanted to dedicate his match to a charity. In fact, he expected it. “He’s super cool. I knew immediately he was doing this for a local charity. I asked his manager guy, ‘What charity is he doing this for?’ He’s doing this for way less money than I should be paying him because he wants to bring awareness to the cause. If he was getting paid what he should be, I’d go broke.”
You can watch Miocic vs. Howard, plus many other exciting matches when Fight 2 Win streams live on FloGrappling on Saturday, April 27.