UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic doesn’t expect himself to be out of action for much longer.
Miocic told TMZ Sports that recovery from the eye injury he suffered in his rematch with Daniel Cormier at UFC 241 is progressing well. The injury was severe enough that Miocic had to undergo surgery following the August 2019 bout.
“The eye is really good actually,” Miocic said. “It’s getting healed up, getting better every day, and I’m just getting back in the gym slowly.”
“I still have some spots, that’s still there,” he later added. “But it can stay, it can go, it depends, but it’s not really messing with my vision so I’m happy about that.”
The 37-year-old is taking his time returning to training. He competed just once in 2019, defeating Cormier by fourth-round TKO to reclaim the heavyweight title that he lost to Cormier a year prior.
Given that Miocic was the victim of eye pokes in both of their encounters, he isn’t taking any chances.
“Just kind of making my way in there,” Miocic said when asked if he’d resumed sparring in the gym. “Just trying to get in better shape and know how my body feels and making sure my eyes feel good.”
Miocic said he is targeting a return in a few months with most of the heavyweight contenders already booked, mentioning the summer as a possibility. Unsurprisingly, he’s eyeing an oft-discussed trilogy bout with Cormier to settle the score.
“Yeah, if that’s what the UFC wants,” Miocic said of the Cormier matchup. “I’m not the matchmaker. Like I always say, if I was the matchmaker I wouldn’t be fighting.”
Cormier has been edging towards retirement though he recently missed his own self-imposed deadline when he turned 40 last March. The former two-division UFC champion successfully defended both the heavyweight and light heavyweight titles in 2018 and his win over Miocic in their first meeting snapped Miocic’s UFC record streak of three straight heavyweight championship defenses.
When discussing how he feels about being the one to send Cormier off, Miocic was succinct.
“It sucks, it sucks for him,” Miocic said. “He’s gonna lose again.”