Heavy wait: Stipe Miocic on fighting fires (and Daniel Cormier)

One year after Stipe Miocic lost to Daniel Cormier, we sat down with him to discuss his work as a firefighter/paramedic, his rematch with Cormier and more.

ESPN: Why do you continue your fire station shifts during camp?

Stipe Miocic: I love what I do, man. I work real hard here, and I love helping out people. Why would I give it up? It makes my mom proud of me — like I did something with my life. I worked so hard to get here.

How often are you in danger?

Every call can be dangerous. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Of course, a high percentage of the time it’s just a medical call. But you never know, man.

Have you ever gotten burned?

In training. Nothing like that in the field. Usually by that time we’ve knocked it down. My ears have been burned a bit, but not a lot. Maybe because I have big ears.

Have you ever seen anyone die?

Yeah, it sucks. It doesn’t happen a lot — a few times a year. When you see someone older pass away, it’s not as bad. You kind of get desensitized. You feel terrible, but at the same time you hope they had a good life. If you see a young child or a young person, it gets a little more intense. Thank God, knock on wood, nothing terrible like that has happened with me. … Every time I’ve had an overdose call, they’ve come back. Narcan is a hell of a drug. The bad part about that is, once you get them back, they try to fight you. You ruined their high. Sometimes they come back swinging.

Why do you have an action figure of Junior dos Santos in your locker?

Because [the other firefighters] are d—heads. They think it’s funny. They gave it to me after he beat me in 2014, and it’s been in the locker ever since. When I lost to Cormier, I worked that week. The chief came in and just hammered me. He was like, “What the hell? How did you lose to that guy?” They have no filter, and they do not care about feelings. It’s all in good fun. I can’t be a baby about it.

How long do you see yourself being a firefighter?

I don’t know, I’m having fun. I’m trying to get full time eventually — pension, benefits. God forbid something happens to me, then my wife and my daughter are taken care of.

Did you have any issue with Cormier initially wanting to fight Brock Lesnar, not you?

I know what he was looking for — an easy fight. What are you gonna do? He tells me I should get another fight before I fight him, but you’re the one that’s trying to fight a dude that hasn’t fought in three years and got popped for a bunch of [PEDs].

Is this fight extra meaningful for you because of that?

No, it’s not about that. I just know I’m a better fighter than he is. I’m just gonna go out there, beat his ass and get my belt back. It’s not even about the belt. It’s about the principle now.

* See Cormier-Miocic 2 and the rest of the main card of UFC 241 on Aug. 17 (10 p.m. ET, ESPN PPV).

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