Gentle Giant: Local Firefighter Aiming for UFC Title

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- At 31 years old, Stipe Miocic has already made it on national television and his career is just getting started.

No, he's not in the television business -- he's an emergency service worker trying to become number one in the world in the Octagon.

Some call Stipe Miocic the gentle giant.

"He doesn't look the part, but he is exactly the part," said Stipe’s trainer, Bob Kaleal.

The part Kaleal is referring to is Stipe's MMA career. Mixed Martial Arts is a full contact combat sport that plays out in an Octagon.

"One of the owners of the gym I was working at is good friends with a guy who fought in King of the Cage and said he needed someone to work out with so I said sure and I wrestled with him and here I am today," Miocic said.

Stipe was born in Euclid, wrestled in both high school and college and is now considered a heavyweight at 31-years-old in the Ultimate Fighting Championship which hosts most of the top-ranked fighters in the world. Miocic is 6’4’’, 242 pounds ranked in the top 10 in the UFC heavyweight rankings and calls Parma home.

"Representing Cleveland means everything to me, and I love this city,” he said. “I'm never leaving; nothing gets better than this place."

Stipe is training for his next fight on May 24 in Las Vegas -- if he wins that match against the number one contender, he could be on his way to a UFC title.

"Stipe will be a world champion because he has what it takes inside and out," Kaleal said.

Away from the 750-square-foot Octagon, life is just as hectic for Stipe.

The 31-year-old spends the other part of his days as a part-time firefighter at Oakwood Village and Valley View Fire Departments.

"We had a lady full arrested and we brought her back to life, that was probably one of the best days of working on the job," Miocic said.

With an 11-1 record as a MMA pro and a shot at being Cleveland's next champion, Stipe is hoping his best days in the Octagon are still ahead.

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