The reigning UFC light heavyweight champion inadvertently became an MMA meme when the question arose in Brooklyn about whether Lesnar could challenge the winner of Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title after UFC 226. Safe to say, “DC” was thrilled by UFC president Dana White’s response.
Cormier, of course, knows what first must be done on July 7, and the tall order he faces when he meets Miocic — the UFC’s record-breaking heavyweight titleholder — in a champion vs. champion superfight. But even still, the thought of what a Lesnar fight could mean for him continues to give Cormier “chills.”
“That thing never happens unless I get past Stipe, but just hearing out loud was like, oh my goodness,” Cormier said. “Hey, I know that when I fight Jon Jones, I make a lot of money. I know that if I was to ever fight a Brock Lesnar, I’m going to make even more money than I’ve ever made in entire life. And ultimately, championships and money is why we do this. I don’t care for all the other stuff. I want to get paid. I’m almost 40, the door’s about to close on me, so why not ride out into the sunset with a massive payday? Truckloads of money. Back up Brinks truck to Gilroy, California if you fight Brock Lesnar, I’m telling you.
“He told me last time, right? When that thing broke that he was fighting at UFC 200, I said, ‘Big Brock, is it Christmas morning in the Cormier household?’ He goes, ‘Merry Christmas, DC. You’re welcome.’ That’s what he told me. He knows that the money’s coming. When he’s on your card or if you’re fighting against him, he knows that you’re getting paid.”
Cormier, 39, announced after his UFC 220 win over Volkan Oezdemir that March 20, 2019 — the date of his 40th birthday — would be his hard date for retirement. Cormier reiterated that vow ahead of UFC on FOX 29, saying that even the lucrative call of a Lesnar fight wouldn’t be enough to keep him in the game if he had to wait any longer than March 2019.
That fast-closing career window is part of the reason the Miocic fight appealed so much to “DC.” Despite Cormier’s struggles against Jon Jones, the chance to become the first-ever concurrent light heavyweight and heavyweight champion would be a monumental accomplishment for the two-time Olympian, one that would forever enshrine him among the all-time greats of the sport.
“That’s the biggest thing,” Cormier said. “Ultimately I am a competitor and I’m about accomplishments, achievements, and being remembered. The curtain’s coming down on me. So all of this, and all the stuff that I do all of the time, that’s all going to be gone. All that’s going to be left are the memories of what I did, and if I can accomplish something on July 7th, those memories will last for a real long time. So ultimately that’s the goal. Everything else will be fine.”
Cormier and Miocic spent plenty of time together in their roles as head coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 27, which is expected to debut next week.
Cormier said he enjoyed his time working alongside Miocic. He’s also enjoying his return to the heavyweight division, and the freedom that it brings.
Cormier began his career as an undefeated heavyweight but hasn’t competed in the division since dropping down to 205 pounds in 2014. In Miocic, he sees a big man who relies on many of the same assets “DC” relied upon during his heavyweight run — a fighter who utilizes speed rather an overwhelming size.
Those similarities, and others, are a few of the reasons Cormier likes the stylistic matchup between he and heavyweight champ.
“There are a lot of elements to the fight,” Cormier said. “Right? He does what I do. He does what I do. He boxes and he wrestles, for the most part. Occasionally we’ll kick, but we ain’t out there throwing 20, 30 kicks a fight. That excites me more than anything.”
Still, Cormier isn’t planning on abandoning his light heavyweight throne.
Even with the limited time in MMA he has left, “DC” hopes to fight at 205 pounds at least one more time — if only to once again clear a path for his longtime friend and training partner Cain Velasquez.
“I’m going to go back,” Cormier said. “There are fights down there for me, and I would hope that Cain would come back and fight at heavyweight and become the champ again.
“I would [step aside] again. Again. I would do it again, as I did the first time. … I’m not fighting Cain Velasquez. I would never, ever fight Cain Velasquez. Nope, nope, I would never do it. So yeah, if it meant giving up the belt, that’s what I would do.”