CLEVELAND-- Stipe Miocic started Cleveland's summer of champions and now he'll defend his crown at home Saturday night.
On May 14, the Clevelander beat Fabricio Werdum to claim the UFC heavyweight title. A month later, the Lake Erie Monsters won their first Calder Cup. One month after that, the Cleveland Cavaliers hoisted the Larry O'Brien Trophy as NBA Champions.
Miocic will face Alistair Overeem, who has won four straight fights, in UFC 203 from Quicken Loans Arena. It's the first-ever stop for UFC in the city of Cleveland.
On Wednesday, six fighters walking into the octagon participated in an open workout outside The Q.
"Clevelanders have got each other's backs," Miocic said. He said he's excited about fighting in front of hometown fans, but added he is focused on the task at hand.
Local fans heckled Overeem during his workout, but he took it with a smile and even encouraged them. The heavyweight spent a lot of time posing for photos and chatting with fans.
"People here are lovely," Overeem said. "Of course Stipe will be the hometown hero and everyone will be rooting for him."
Cleveland native Jessica "Evil" Eye is pumped for her match-up against Brazil's Bethe Correia. But Eye has lost her last three fights by unanimous decision.
"I'm out of tears. I'm out of all the bad emotions. It's exciting because this is why I started," Eye said. She said the last year has been a struggle. She recently lost her father to cancer, but she feels re-energized and re-focused on getting back on the winning track this weekend.
"I'm so glad to be back where I am at this time. You know, it's an important part of my career. It's do or die for both me and Bethe (Correia), but unfortunately they didn't put her in the right neck of the woods to start out this journey."