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Daniel Cormier not interested in shot at Stipe Miocic’s title out of deference to Cain Velasquez

Daniel Cormier defended his title against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

After UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic both retained their championships on Saturday night at the TD Garden in Boston, UFC president Dana White brought up the idea of them facing each other next.

The idea is hardly a stretch. Cormier was an undefeated heavyweight who struggles to make 205. He really only moved to 205 because his AKA teammate, Cain Velasquez, was champion at the time and Cormier noted he would never challenge him. Plus, Cormier had a quest to face Jon Jones due to a snub by Jones years earlier, and since Jones was considered the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world.

But Cormier of late has talked about not being interested in fighting at heavyweight again, given how much size he would be giving up to almost everyone in the division.

Still, he’s already proven that with his quickness, his wrestling, and overall fighting skill, he’s likely be to competitive with most, if not all of the division.

”People have talked about that for a really long time,” Cormier said Saturday night at UFC 220’s post-fight press conference. “I did 13 fights at heavyweight and I hate cutting weight, as you guys all know. I’m the only guy who gets a rousing ovation every time he steps on the scale to make weight.”

But after moving to 20-1, with 1 no contest, with his second-round stoppage of Volkan Oezdemir (15-2), Cormier doubled down on the idea of not facing Miocic for the original reason he moved to light heavyweight to begin with.

In fact, after Cormier’s fight, the first thing he did was talk about his gym, the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, and predicted they would have two more champions — Velasquez at heavyweight and Khabib Nurmagomedov at lightweight — before the year is out. Later, at the post-fight press conference, he also mentioned Luke Rockhold, who has left California to train in Florida, noting that Cormier still considered Rockhold a teammate and best friend, and he expected him to get the middleweight title as well.

”I haven’t really thought about it,” Cormier said. “It’s hard for me now because Cain is in the gym more. Cain is in the gym getting back prepared to do what he does best. I draw so much from him. Cain had a baby about a month ago and he’s here with me now. I didn’t know if he was coming to the fight. I didn’t bother to ask him if he was coming to the fight because I didn’t know if it was possible because of the new baby.

Velasquez, unbeknownst to Cormier, showed up Wednesday afternoon in Boston.

”He was there for my weight cut,” said Cormier. “The dude’s never sauna’d, and he was dried up like a California raisin by the time we were done with that sauna. But he’s there. I draw inspiration for him. If he’s getting prepared to get that belt back, then I have nothing for that division. That’ll never change.”

Cormier also said he thinks Miocic vs. Velasquez will eventually be the biggest heavyweight fight in UFC history.

”It’s he (Miocic) and Cain, and then everybody else,” Cormier said. “The biggest heavyweight fight we’ll ever have is when those two fight each other. I’ll never say he’s better than Cain Velasquez, but he’s good. He’s just as good. They’re even.”

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