The days are counting down until Daniel Cormier retires from mixed martial arts.
The reigning UFC heavyweight champion was originally planning on calling it a career earlier this year as he approached his 40th birthday because he wanted to focus on his family and dedicate more of his time to his children.
The deadline to retire was eventually pushed back after Cormier suffered a back injury last year that required surgery, which then forced him to the sidelines for several months.
Now as he approaches his upcoming rematch against Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 on Saturday night, Cormier has said that this could potentially be his final fight because the only other matchup that interests him in sticking around is a trilogy against longtime rival Jon Jones.
UFC president Dana White would love to make Cormier’s wishes come true for a third fight against Jones but he also knows Saturday night could be the final walk for one of the most storied champions in the company’s history.
“I do believe that unfortunately, if something doesn’t line up after this fight with Jones, this could be the last fight for Daniel Cormier,” White told Jim Rome on Thursday.
“I dread it. I dread the day Daniel Cormier leaves. He’s still going to be my commentator and doing things with us but as a fight fan and a fan of Cormier, I dread the day.”
White has often heaped praise on Cormier’s shoulders not only for his awe-inspiring fight record but also for the way he carries himself inside and outside the Octagon.
In White’s eyes, Cormier is the model fighter not only for his willingness to face any opponent put in front of him but also serving as a role model for kids and other athletes on the UFC roster.
“The best. So incredible to deal with, such a good human being and an incredible champion,” White said.
A perfect example of why White admires Cormier so much was his decision to face Miocic in a rematch at UFC 241 after knocking him out in the first round when they met last July.
On paper, Cormier had no real reason to step back into the Octagon with Miocic a second time considering the emphatic ending to the first fight. Add to that, Cormier had been openly pursuing a fight against former heavyweight champion and current WWE superstar Brock Lesnar as well as the third matchup against Jones before he retired.
Instead of complaining about what he didn’t get, Cormier accepted the fight against Miocic without blinking.
“It’s why I respect Cormier so much taking this fight. First of all, he’d already been talking about retiring, there were two fights he wanted, Stipe wasn’t one of them and how does he beat Stipe more impressively than he did the first time?” White said. “So what’s the upside for Daniel Cormier in this rematch with Stipe?
“That’s why I respect this guy so much. You don’t ever hear any complaining, no crying ‘I didn’t want this fight’. He just goes out and does what he does.”