Stipe Miocic was looking for revenge against heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier, and he got just that.

It was anything but easy in the main event of UFC 241, but thanks to one of the great adjustments in UFC championship fight history, Miocic brought the belt back home by stopping Cormier in the fourth round.

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Both big men threw leg kicks early as they felt out range and strategy. Cormier landed the initial big punches before shooting for a takedown. When Miocic resisted initially, Cormier went for a high crotch and easily lifted his foe onto his shoulder before slamming him down and going to work from inside Miocic's half-guard. 

While Cormier didn't score the quick knockout like their first meeting, he did appear to set the tone for another dominant performance with the statement takedown in the opening frame. And for three rounds, it seemed as though almost every punch Miocic landed was answered by one or two harder shots from Cormier. Fatigue seemed as tough an obstacle for Cormier as Miocic's punches.

As Cormier's body language began to show signs of that fatigue, it also led Miocic to find a new weapon in the first of the championship rounds, digging a left hook to the body of Cormier repeatedly. Cormier returned with overhand rights, but Miocic had painted a mental bullseye over Cormier's liver. Miocic landed to the body again before staggering Cormier with a flurry of punches to the head. As Cormier went back against the cage, Miocic poured on strikes to the defenseless champ.

As Cormier slumped against the cage, taking punch after punch, referee Herb Dean jumped in to waive the fight off. Miocic signaled to his waist before dancing a jig in the center of the cage. Cormier was left sitting against the cage, eyes glazed, while the new champ celebrated.

Following the bout, Miocic discussed the decision to drop his punches to the body.

"I knew I was hurting him," Miocic said. "Just keep working, keep working. He was going to leave something open."

"Get out," Miocic said of his thoughts during the fight-ending flurry. "I'm done. I'm tired. I want to go home. I kind of Frank the Tanked it. I'm an idiot. I'm dumb. I'm that guy at a party that does dumb stuff."

Cormier (22-2) suffered his first official loss since dropping a decision to Jon Jones in 2015. He has discussed retirement for some time, initially saying he wanted to hang up his gloves by the time he turned 40. That milestone came and went in March.

Following the loss, he sounded uncertain of his future.

"You don't make decisions based on emotions, but this is a tough pill to swallow," Cormier said. "At 40 years old, you know, with so many other opportunities, I need to speak to my wife, and we need to make an educated decision on what we're going to do.

"Losing any type of fight for me is terrible, but getting stopped is just insane. That's twice I've been stopped. That's not good. I'm smart enough to understand that." 

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UFC 241 updates, highlights

UFC 241 card/results

Stipe Miocic (c) def. Daniel Cormier via fourth-round TKO (punches)
Nate Diaz def. Anthony Pettis via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Paulo Costa def. Yoel Romero via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Sodiq Yusuff def. Gabriel Benitez via first-round TKO (punches)
Derek Brunson def. Ian Heinisch via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Khama Worthy def. Devonte Smith via first-round TKO (punches)
Cory Sandhagen def. Raphael Assuncao via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Drakkar Klose def. Christos Giagos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Casey Kenney def. Manny Bermudez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

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