I had the pleasure of spending two days with American-born Croatian UFC fighter Stipe Miocic as he prepared for his upcoming bout with Phil DeFries on February 15th. I made the five-hour trip from southern Ontario to Stipe’s home town of Cleveland, Ohio. I arrived Thursday afternoon and by 5:30pm I was on my way to the Strong Style Martial Arts Academy with Miocic and Zagreb native Sasa Mucnjak. Mucnjak had flown down a week and a half ago to assist Stipe with his training for the fight. Mucnjak himself is an accomplished MMA fighter with a record of five wins and two losses and is also the former training partner of Mirko “ Cro Cop” Filipović.
Stipe Miocic Interview prior to Phil DeFries fight on February 15th
Stipe’s training on Thursday night was intense to say the least as his coach Marcus Marinelli pushed him to the limit. The training consisted of sparring and grappling in the cage as Marinelli would send fresh sparring partners in with Stipe every three minutes or so for an hour. The point of the exercise was to work on his total MMA game, cardio and ability to adapt to any situation he could be put into during a fight. Once Stipe completed that, it was off to some intense cardio training which I personally got tired of just by watching him. Throughout the training Thursday night, Miocic looked ready for war. His striking, grappling and cardio looked very sharp and it won’t be long before we see Stipe Miocic’s name among the top heavyweights in the UFC.
Friday morning’s training was a lot more relaxed than Thursday night as Coach Marinelli felt they broke down Stipe’s body enough the past week. Miocic was instructed to do some light ground work switching between Sasa Mucnjak and myself. I can say from personal grappling experience that Stipe has crazy balance and is strong as an ox. Stipe is an excellent wrestler and is very good at getting into a dominant position. I have to say everyone at Strong Style Martial Arts Academy is a class act and would recommend anyone to go there to train. Upon arrival I felt like I was part of the team and didn’t feel out of place at any time. Strong Style is a top notch training facility and for anyone looking to get in to MMA, Boxing, BJJ or just to work out with weights or take a fitness class, it’s the perfect fit.
Interview with Sasa Mucnjak, ex-CroCop training partner
Stipe Miocic, in my opinion, is on the road to a very successful career in the UFC heavyweight division. Stipe is a true Hrvat and I am proud as all Croatians should be, as he represents us in the biggest MMA organization in the world. The Cleveland Croat is a class act and I expect him to make quick work of Phil De Fries this Wednesday in Omaha, Nebraska. I enjoyed my time in Cleveland with Stipe, Sasa and the Strong Style Academy crew and look forward to visiting again in the future. For the record, Sasa Mucnjak is a true Dinamo fan and a class act.
The fight will be broadcast live on February 15th, 2012 @ 9pm ET on Fuel TV in the United States and Rogers Sportsnet in Canada.
Stipe Miocic would like to thank his sponsors HeadRush Brand, Hyabusa, Topps, Defense Soap, Strhess Clothing, John P Lennon, Advanced Sports Labs and Croatian Sports.com for their continued support. You can follow Stipe Miocic on twitter @smiocic. You can also get Stipe Miocic’s walkout shirt at www.headrushbrand.com.
You can follow me on twitter @crocrippler and on Facebook “Croatian Crippler”.