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Daniel Cormier: If Stipe Miocic won’t fight, ‘it’s going to be me’ against Francis Ngannou for the title

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Daniel Cormier isn’t going to wait forever for Stipe Miocic to make his return.

The UFC heavyweight champion hasn’t fought since this past August when he defeated Cormier in their rematch to reclaim the title he lost in their first meeting. Since that time, Miocic has undergone an eye surgery to repair the damage done in the most recent fight with Cormier and lately he’s been working as a first-responder in Ohio while quarantining at home with his family with his home gym shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Miocic recently stated that he wouldn’t likely return until after August because he would need a full training camp to prepare for a planned trilogy against Cormier. That didn’t sit well with UFC president Dana White, who made it clear that Miocic needs to start thinking about fighting again soon or the heavyweight division will move on without him.

Meanwhile, Francis Ngannou racked up his fourth straight knockout on Saturday night at UFC 249, further cementing his claim to the next title shot. Unfortunately with Miocic expected to face Cormier next, Ngannou could be on the shelf for the next year just waiting for his opportunity to fight for gold.

While it’s not the scenario he envisioned for what is expected to be the final fight of his career, Cormier will gladly face Ngannou next if Miocic isn’t ready to go.

“That’s if Stipe won’t fight,” Cormier said during the UFC 249 post-fight show. “If Stipe won’t fight then Francis Ngannou has earned a title fight. If somebody’s fighting Francis Ngannou for the title, it’s going to be me.

“I’ll be honest with you, all respect in the world to Francis Ngannou but I’m not afraid of anyone. I’ll fight anybody on any time. I love Francis. I think he’s a sweetheart person.”

Ideally, Cormier would still much rather wait for Miocic to return so they can settle their trilogy after splitting the first two fights between them.

With retirement planned after one more fight, Cormier wants to avenge his prior defeat to Miocic but more than anything, he wants to leave the sport as champion.

“I would love to do my trilogy fight with Stipe Miocic,” Cormier said. “But if Stipe won’t fight, they’re going to take his belt just like Henry [Cejudo] just gave up his and they’re going to make a fight between Francis and I for the belt.

“It’s simple as that. You’ve got to fight as the champ.”

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