Daniel Cormier has almost always been a competitor.
From wrestling to mixed martial arts, the double Olympian and former UFC champion in two divisions has devoted his life largely to athletics, but after celebrating his 41st birthday recently, he also understands that he cannot beat forever.
This is why Cormier has targeted his next fight against reigning heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic as his last, even though people like UFC President Dana White have made it clear that he could easily carry on for several years. Assuming he was victorious in his trilogy with Miocic, Cormier’s decision would be all the more difficult since he would retire with a title still wrapped around his waist.
” I think I can [walk away]Cormier told MMA Fighting. “It will be the hardest thing I will ever have to do, but I think I can and I think it will make everyone happy with my household, my wife and my children. As much as they like to watch me compete, the chance to see me come out on top would be a fairy tale. I think I can.
“I’m probably one of the most competitive people you’ve ever met and it’s going to keep me going. But I’m going to have to focus on something else. I’m going to have to work on my job in front of the television to compensate for this. ”
In a perfect world, Cormier would complete negotiations for his trilogy with Miocic at the moment, but the coronavirus pandemic has plunged everything into chaos in recent weeks. Ideally, Cormier still hopes to have his last fight this summer, but he also understands that this is an unprecedented situation that continues to evolve on a daily basis.
“If we’re not able to go back to work before the summer, this kind of thing is what I thought or what the organization and Stipe thought for our combat time,” said Cormier. “The reality is that it wouldn’t really affect us in the sense that we couldn’t train like we currently can’t.
“As we get closer to the fight, we will be able to get back on schedule. Because the date of the fight was so far, honestly, it doesn’t really affect us much. ”
Much of the delay in planning the fight was Miocic’s recovery from eye surgery after suffering from a torn retina at their last meeting.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Miocic said he was finally ready to resume training, which was exactly the news Cormier was waiting to hear.
“It’s encouraging,” said Cormier. “It is encouraging because for a while he was not training. Then you start hearing all kinds of crazy things like he might have to retire and he won’t be able to do this and he won’t be able to do that. It’s very encouraging that he’s back at work and ready to fight. “
As much as Cormier would like to have a date and place set for his fight with Miocic, he understands that there are some things more important than his quest to regain the UFC heavyweight title and step down as champion.
In addition to his work as a UFC fighter, Miocic is also a full-time firefighter near his home in Cleveland and still works as a regular team in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sure, Cormier relishes the chance to avenge his past loss when they meet again, but for now, he’s just rooted for Miocic to succeed as a first responder when people need him much more than they have need to see him fight right now.
“One thing I saw the other day,” said Stipe, “worrying about a fight right now is not on my mind. This guy is one of the people trying to save lives and his responsibility right now is not with me or the UFC, “said Cormier. “These are the people of the Cleveland area who need the help of Stipe the firefighter, not Stipe the heavyweight world champion.
“I think his mind is in the right place, but I am also happy and encouraged that he is at least physically ready to start the job that is most beneficial to me.”
Once the pandemic finally starts to slow down and people start working again, Cormier is confident that Miocic will shift its focus to their fight.
The moment of the trilogy could be a little later than envisaged, but Cormier knows that the end will justify the means.
” I believe [the trilogy] is going to happen, “said Cormier. “I don’t know exactly when, but I believe it will happen. “