UFC 252: Can Cormier Ride Off Into The Sunset With The W? Can "Suga" Keep Rolling?

Daniel Cormier has teased UFC fans about retirement for years, but his upcoming trilogy fight with Stipe Miocic looms as the last one for the future Hall of Famer.

"Suga" Sean O'Malley is poised to enter the decade as the promotion's leading young star. Still undefeated in 12 fights, the calls for a title bout are in the near future.

UFC 252 features two fighters in contests that could push their legacies into another stratosphere. For their combatants, they're more than happy to ruin a good storyline and write a new legacy of their own. Plus, the MMA betting odds for the main event fights are just juicy enough to make a wager on.

Here's everything you need to know about the main events of UFC 252 on Saturday at the UFC APEX®, a new, state-of-the-art, 130,000 square-foot production facility in Las Vegas.

Sean O'Malley (12-0-0) vs. Marlon Vera (15-6-1)

Few are as talented with their hands as Suga Sean. The bantamweight is undefeated in his 12 MMA bouts thus far, crowned by his winning of The Ultimate Fighter finale versus Terrior “Flash” Ware. The 141 significant strikes statistic is good for the 4th-most ever in a 3-round UFC Bantamweight bout. A heavy-handed rangy fighter with volume is an extremely tough task for any fighter, and it’s the reason why “Suga” Sean is a heavy favorite against a talented Vera, who will have a height and reach disadvantage.

One thing for "Chito" Vera is the motivation to make amends for their 2019 fight that was canceled due to O'Malley getting busted for Ostarine, which forced his withdrawal from UFC 239.

“(Expletive) him,” Vera told MMA Junkie. “I don’t know what’s happening. I really don’t know if he’s really cheating or not. He was just an opponent, and I’ll wait for another guy. I will keep lowering my weight for a couple days. If they don’t have a replacement in a couple days, I’m going to walk away. I don’t want to be cutting weight for nothing.”

Derailing O'Malley's run towards a title fight would be a crowning achievement for Vera, and O'Malley coloring his hair in the colors of Chito's country will either make for easy target practice or a bad look when taking his first loss.

Unfortunately for Vera, there's a reason why O'Malley's undefeated...and it has nothing to do with his hair or his outside-the-octagon shenanigans.

  • Pick: O’Malley -315 over Marlon Vera +240

Stipe Miocic (19-3-0) vs. Daniel Cormier (22-2-0)

The great trilogy –and perhaps the even greater career of Cormier— is set to come to a head. Cormier steps into the octagon to face the champion Miocic for the third time in two years, and the stakes have never been higher. It’s a fight about more than just the UFC Heavyweight Championship though. It is about solidifying a legacy as the greatest heavyweight in MMA history.

“Definitely. I believe so,” said Miocic to MMA Fighting when asked about being the heavyweight GOAT. “I think we’ve done so much. Unfortunately for him, it’s going to be me.”

Last August, Miocic handed Cormier the second loss of his UFC career, avenging Cormier’s July 2018 victory that broke up Miocic’s record string of heavyweight championship defenses. In their first bout, Cormier’s unparalleled wrestling took center stage. In the rematch, Miocic’s superior striking gave him the upper hand. Saturday could come down to who can impose their fight first – and most consistently.

"More than anything in this one, I hope I can fight to my full potential. I don't think I did last time. I was still kind of injured after back surgery [in December 2018]," said Cormier in an op-ed to ESPN. "I didn't get to train effectively. There were a number of reasons that I didn't get to show the best Daniel Cormier. I just want to be able to fight the way I did my entire career, and I think I'm on track to be able to do that."

To that end, a crucial element will be the smaller octagon where the third fight will take place. This would definitely give the smaller grappler in Cormier the edge. In what could be the final fight of his distinguished career, the climate looks right for DC to reclaim the title and ride off into the sunset on top.

That is, unless Jon Jones comes out of nowhere and Dana White puts $20 million on the table for a fourth fight.

  • Pick: Daniel Cormier -110 over Stipe Miocic -110

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