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Daniel Cormier: Stipe Miocic needs to take a fight, earn rematch

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Daniel Cormier can sympathize with Stipe Miocic’s position. That doesn’t mean he’s going to just give him what he wants.

It’s no secret that Miocic wants another shot at Cormier after being KO’d by “DC” inside of a round at UFC 226. That loss snapped a stretch of back-to-back-to-back successful title defenses for Miocic, the best streak ever by a UFC heavyweight champion. He’s argued that warrants an immediate rematch, especially since he granted Cormier a title shot in the challenger’s first fight at heavyweight since 2013.

Cormier disagrees.

He recently mentioned on social media that he felt Miocic was acting “entitled” and elaborated on those thoughts during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour. What bothers Cormier most about Miocic’s rematch request is that he’s been inactive since their fight last July, while Cormier went on to defend the heavyweight title against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230.

For comparison’s sake, Cormier pointed out that his twice-suspended rival Jon Jones is set to compete for a second time in less than three months while Miocic has been idle.

“This is crazy shit right here,” Cormier said. “Stipe hasn’t fought in so long that Jon Jones will have fought twice since he last got to the Octagon. When’s the last time that’s happened?

“Jones will have had two fights and at the rate that he’s fighting, maybe three by the time Stipe fights again if he waits and fights me in the summer. That’s crazy, because Jones doesn’t fight very often. That’s crazy.”

Cormier admitted that the sport is a “dirty game” and that the only way to guarantee that you’re in a favorable position with the UFC is to fight as often as possible. For Cormier, that meant battling through a few nagging injuries to take the fight with Lewis, an opportunity that he didn’t think would interfere with his plans to close out his career with a big money fight against Brock Lesnar.

Those plans have left Miocic as the odd man out, chasing an opponent who has the leverage to pursue other options. And right now, Cormier isn’t pleased that Miocic has been inactive as opposed to fighting to keep his place in line.

“I just don’t like that I’ve fought again and he still hasn’t fought,” Cormier said.

Cormier and Miocic were cordial in the lead-up to their fight and for the most part have remained so in the aftermath, to the point that Cormier has said that he understands Miocic’s perspective. He compared the situation to his own quest to beat Jones, a task that Cormier has twice fallen short of accomplishing.

In Cormier’s eyes, the difference is that he had to fight several times before getting his second fight with Jones and he’d like to see Miocic put in the same effort.

“I understand where he’s coming from because I’ve been there with Jones twice and I’m like, ‘God, I know I can beat him if I can just get another opportunity to do it. I know I can beat him.’ And it burns at you and it eats at you, especially the way that he lost the fight. I get it,” Cormier said. “But I don’t have to really owe anything. I’ve said that before, I’ve said he deserves it. I’ve said that. He deserves a rematch if I don’t get to fight Brock. I’ve always stood by that. But you can’t just go, ‘Well, you owe it to me.’ I don’t want to sit here and talk bad about Stipe because I like Stipe. I think he’s a good guy. He’s a fantastic father. He’s a pillar of the community. He’s a great fighter. I think he’s great. But you can’t sit there and say, ‘He owes me.’

“When I lost to Jones the first time, I thought, ‘Man, if I can just get another opportunity.’ I didn’t just sit and wait. I went right back to work at trying to re-earn the opportunity if they weren’t going to give it to me. I wasn’t the champion obviously, so the circumstances were different, but I right away scheduled a fight to try to get my way back to that fight and it’s almost like he hasn’t really taken that approach. That’s one of the things where I’m kind of like, what’s going on? Why hasn’t he fought yet still?”

Miocic won the UFC heavyweight championship with a first-round knockout of Fabricio Werdum and his first two title defenses also ended the same way. Cormier thinks that it’s on Miocic to remind fans why he made it to the top of the mountain in the first place.

“Just go beat somebody up, then you can’t ignore it,” Cormier said. “He can go knock somebody out again and it’s like, ‘Well, you gotta fight him.’ Then the last memory of him in the Octagon is not him getting knocked out.”

Even if Miocic decides to accept another fight and even if he wins that fight in emphatic fashion, it doesn’t guarantee Cormier will be next for him. Cormier brought up UFC president Dana White telling TMZ that Cormier had three fights left on his contract and he speculated that Miocic could fit into that schedule.

But when it comes down to it, Lesnar and Jones are still the leading candidates for Cormier’s farewell fights.

“If we talk about Dana’s schedule of fights: he said Lesnar, Stipe, Jones,” Cormier said. “I guess that last one at 205 would probably be the best because I don’t want to be going down to 205 back up to heavyweight. It would be Lesnar, Miocic, and Jones if I had three fights.

If I had three fights. If I had two, it may be Lesnar, back to 205 to fight Jones. But it’ll be on my terms.”