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Morning Report: Daniel Cormier says trilogy bout with Stipe Miocic might not end up happening until summer

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Daniel Cormier has one last fight left in his MMA career, but it could be a while before we see him hang the gloves up.

Last we saw Cormier, he was getting stopped by Stipe Miocic in their rematch at UFC 241, losing his heavyweight title and setting up a trilogy fight between the two. Unfortunately, both men suffered injuries in the fight which necessitated surgery, leaving the heavyweight title has been in a bit of limbo sense August, and according to Cormier, it may stay that way until the summer.

“There’s no time for us to fight until maybe June,” Cormier told MMA Junkie recently. “The way the UFC quarterly schedule is looking, the UFC essentially, with them announcing Tony [Ferguson] and Khabib [Nurmagomedov] for April, there’s really no time. We’re going to be waiting a little bit.”

Unfortunately for Cormier, the longer the wait, the better things are for Miocic. Cormier will turn 41 in March and though he hasn’t shown massive signs of aging, he’s still not getting any younger. Cormier had planned to retire at 40 but ultimately decided to keep going for another couple of fights, and with the Miocic trilogy being planned as his last hurrah, Cormier says he’d prefer it happen sooner rather than later, though he realizes he’s no longer in the driver’s seat when it comes to that decision.

“It’s tricky,” Cormier said. “I would like it to happen sooner than later, that’s all I would like to say. I feel like the more time I get away from last year’s back surgery, the better I feel, and I’m starting to really feel like myself now. The further I get away from this surgery, the better I’ll be. They told me when I did it, after about a year is when it would really start to feel everything was back in order and I’m starting to feel that now.

“I’m ready to go, but he’s the champ. He’s the champ, he makes the rules. So I’m on standby and I’m waiting to see when this guy says that we’re going to fight. When he does, I’ll be prepared. I’ll be ready – even more prepared than the last time because I feel I can prepare better from the very start right now.”

The UFC heavyweight division is known for its trilogy fights and when this one finally comes to fruition, it will only add to the legacy of both men. After knocking out Miocic in the first round in their first fight, Cormier was trying to stake his claim as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time in their rematch. Instead, Miocic stopped Cormier in the fourth round, re-staking his claim as the heavyweight GOAT. Their third fight will be critically important for both men and Cormier feels good heading into it, considering how well he’s done in the previous fights and his preparation for this one, including working out with boxing legend George Foreman.

“I think what’s great for me is in five rounds of fighting I’ve won the vast majority of those rounds,” Cormier said. “That’s what feels good for me in my preparation. There are some things I need to change. Obviously he did a great job of adjusting and punching me in the body last time, and that’s what ultimately won him the fight. But I’ve already started to take the steps to try to improve that.

“I’m working with George Foreman now, and he showed me some tips to help with the boxing. The reality is it’s all boxing. Stipe isn’t kicking me very much, he’s punching and punching and I’m punching and wrestling. I’ve started to work on some things to try to shore up that issue that caused me so many problems last time.”

The body shots were the major issue for Cormier last time. DC won the initial rounds of the fight but after Miocic hurt him with a hook to the body, he began targeting the area relentlessly, turning the tide of the bout and setting up the biggest trilogy fight in many years. It’s a fitting way for Cormier, one of the best fighters of all time, to go out of the sport: with one final legacy-defining fight.

“I think Stipe and I have a fantastic rivalry,” Cormier said. “I won the first fight in tremendous fashion, he won the second fight in tremendous fashion. I feel like we’ve had the first two acts of a three-act drama and we have to do the trilogy fight and eventually we’re going to do that.”


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FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


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