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Morning Report: Daniel Cormier on trilogy fight with Stipe Miocic: ‘I hope Stipe has his wrestling shoes’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Over the weekend, UFC President Dana White confirmed that the long-awaited trilogy fight between heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will be held in the UFC APEX. The APEX, the UFC’s own arena in Las Vegas, has played host to a number of events in recent weeks as a controllable environment amid the global coronavirus concerns. More importantly, the APEX features a 25-foot octagon instead of the standard 30-foot octagon primarily used by the UFC. And for Cormier, that’s music to his ears.

Cormier and Miocic have fought twice before. In their first encounter, Cormier knocked out Miocic in the first round. In their second bout, Cormier was in control early but was stopped in the fourth round by body shots after Miocic adjusted in the third round. Afterwards, one of the big questions for Cormier was why he didn’t use his Olympic wrestling pedigree. But it sounds like Cormier doesn’t intend to make that same mistake twice, especially given the smaller cage.

“I love fighting at the APEX,” Cormier said on his ESPN show yesterday. “That old leg is gonna be right in front of me to grab. I’ll be like Curtis Blaydes. If you want to see a 25-minute stand-up fight, that’s not what you’re getting. I hope Stipe has his wrestling shoes, because with the small cage, single-leg, single-leg, single-leg, single-leg, wrestling. It is what it is. Sorry.”

The smaller cage has been a hot topic of conversation in recent weeks, with many suggesting that the tighter confines lead to more action-packed fights. There are others, however, who believe the smaller cage is not the standard and thus could cheapen a Cormier win, as their first two bouts were contested in the 30-foot cage. But Cormier says that’s nonsense.

“Stipe Miocic and I are going to fight for the heavyweight championship,” Cormier said. “We could fight on the beach somewhere, it’s still going to be an official heavyweight championship fight. It’s the world we live in today. Would you rather not have the fights? That’s the world we live in. We’ve got to fight where we’re supposed to fight. It is what it is. Big cage, small cage, I’m just gonna do my thing.”

Of course, not everyone is as happy about this decision. Stipe Miocic woudld reportedly prefer the bout to be contested in the traditional 30-foot cage but it remains to be seen whether the UFC will accommodate the champion’s preferences. The arena and lighting fixtures are not designed for the bigger cage and thus, doing so might require more effort than the UFC is willing to expend. But even if Miocic can use his sway, Cormier believes it won’t affect the outcome.

“He could, but it won’t change anything,” Cormier said. “25-foot, 30-foot, all you’ll see is, (raises hand) “And new, two-time UFC heavyweight champion of the world, Daniel Cormier!” That’s it. That’s what’s happening on August 15 and that’s all that matters to me.”

Ahead of his final fight, Cormier is obviously in good spirits, which he puts down to being able to train and wrestle properly for the first time in a year, since he had back surgery before his rematch with Miocic. But just because he’s finally feeling good again, doesn’t mean Cormier intends to extend his career any further than this trilogy bout with Miocic. One way or another, “DC” said he was going to retire after this fight and he’s sticking to that.

“Here’s the thing - and I want to be completely serious about this - everybody wants that moment, to be able to go out on top,” Cormier explained. “But if you keep chasing it, eventually somebody’s gonna get you. So no. I want this. It doesn’t get bigger. A trilogy fight for the heavyweight championship of the world. What more could I possible be chasing?”


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FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

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