His name may be difficult to pronounce, but Stipe Miocic might be the most well-known student to walk the Nashville campus.
The former Trevecca baseball player is the new UFC heavyweight champion. He defeated Fabricio Werdum in Curitiba, Brazil, on May 14, to win the title. The fight headlined UFC 198 and was scheduled to go five rounds. Miocic won in the first round.
The championship drew a crowd of 45,207, making it the third biggest event in UFC history. Thousands more around the world tuned in to watch on Pay-Per-View.
Since his monumental victory, Miocic has been featured all over social media and on television shows, such as ESPN’s SportsCenter. Celebrities, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and sports teams like the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, MLB’s Cleveland Indians and NFL’s Cleveland Browns have tweeted their congratulations to the Cleveland native.
At Trevecca, Miocic was a well-liked student majoring in communication studies. As a member of the baseball team, he hit .344 with seven home runs in his senior year and helped the University win the 2005 TranSouth Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles.
“Stipe came down to get more exposure in hopes of getting drafted or continuing his baseball career professionally,” said Luke Brown, a former Trevecca pitcher, member of Trevecca’s athletic Hall of Fame and a former teammate of Miocic. “He was friends with Brad Coon who was from the Cleveland area as well. Stipe was a great baseball player, had some power at the plate, was a solid defender at third base, and his athleticism was off the charts for his size.”
Moicic made his MMA debut in 2010 and showed signs of early promise in the UFC. Brown says Miocic’s teammates also saw that promise and joked with him about it.
“We would joke with him in the locker room about his UFC ability,” said Brown. “Not only because of his wrestling background, but also because he has to be the most high energy player and person I have ever been around.”
Miocic, who transferred to Trevecca from Cleveland State where he played baseball and wrestled, is quick to discuss on social media how he enjoyed his time at Trevecca. In addition to his UFC success, he is also a paramedic and firefighter outside of his hometown in Cleveland, Ohio.
According to his former teammate, there’s no reason to be surprised by Miocic’s success.
“Anyone who was a teammate of his isn’t surprised by his success,” Brown said. "He was one of the most genuine guys on the team. He would give you the shirt off his back. That is one reason it is so awesome to see him succeed.”