Daniel Cormier put together a campaign to remember in 2018, but will it be his last?
Cormier, the reigning UFC heavyweight champion, has long stated a desire to retire by the time he reaches his 40th birthday on March 20, 2019. With that self-imposed deadline fast approaching, “DC” will soon be forced to make a decision. He is, by all accounts, the Fighter of the Year frontrunner for 2018 after putting up a 3-0 record this past year with successful title defenses in two different divisions and the distinction of having become the only man in UFC history to simultaneously claim the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles, so it’s not as if Cormier is faltering as he hits the home stretch of his athletic career.
“Man, I don’t know,” Cormier said Monday on The MMA Hour. “Like I said, I’ve long intended to be done with this thing by the time I turn 40 years old, and I’ve had some things injury-wise that are really kinda holding me back right now. I would prefer to be getting ready to train right now and fight, but there are a couple things that have happened that I can’t really get going like I want to, so it’s kinda all still up in the air. Dana’s hopeful, he’s like, ‘Oh, you can fight three more times, you’re the man right now.’ And honestly, I could fight. I could still fight. It doesn’t seem like I’m slowing down too much. I mean, hell, I became the heavyweight champion a few months ago, it’s not like I’m slowing done.
“So we’ll see what it is. I really do still intend to be done with this thing really soon. It’s just a personal decision that I made with my family, and we’ll see what happens.”
Ever since Cormier captured the heavyweight title with a first-round knockout of Stipe Miocic at UFC 226, the tentative plan for his exit was believed to be a blockbuster farewell fight against former UFC champion and current WWE superstar Brock Lesnar, likely set for sometime in early 2019.
For Cormier, that is still the ideal plan for his next title defense, even if it doesn’t end up being the final fight of his career. But with Lesnar’s status growing uncertain and Miocic still waiting in the wings at heavyweight, “DC” remains open to alternative routes as well.
“As of right now with the Lesnar thing, that’s kinda still up in the air,” Cormier said. “I’ve gotten a lot of, ‘You’re not willing to fight Jones, you talk trash about Jones [and he his drug testing issues], but you’re willing to fight Lesnar?’ Nobody knows what’s in place in terms of drug testing between Brock Lesnar and I. These are just general assumptions as to what is Brock Lesnar truly going through right now to try to be eligible to compete. We could be doing so many different things that people are unaware of, and if Brock Lesnar’s clean on the day that we fight, because of these things, then why can’t I fight him?
“Or, if he doesn’t fight, then I’ll fight Stipe Miocic. I talked to the boss (Dana White) the other day and he’s talking to me about fights and Brock Lesnar and Jon Jones and everybody, and I said, ‘If Lesnar doesn’t go, Stipe has to be first. He deserves it, and I’ve said it from the beginning. If it ain’t Brock, I want to fight Stipe Miocic and give him what’s rightfully his, a rematch for this title.’ He’s going to get beat again, but at least he’ll get a chance to fight for that belt again.”