Daniel Cormier’s next fight will be against UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic.
There is no doubt that is a money fight for the UFC, but the date and venue for the fight remains uncertain.
“I’m just waiting on the champ,” said Cormier. “When the champ decides it’s time to fight, that’s when he and I are going to fight. He’s got the belt, he makes the rules.”
Cormier and Miocic have already fought twice, with Cormier winning the first and Miocic evening the score last summer. Miocic is in no hurry for round three, preferring a full training camp once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, while Cormier is eager to sign a contract for a third and decisive fight.
“I understand Stipe is a first responder,” said Cormier. “He’s a fireman, but he’s also heavyweight champion of the world. And the heavyweight champion of the world needs to fight.”
Cormier made quick work of Miocic two summers ago at UFC 226, winning the Heavyweight Championship with a first-round knockout. He also controlled the first three rounds of the rematch last summer at UFC 241 until Miocic made a tactical change in the fourth round, capitalizing on a tired Cormier.
“I’ve got to be focused the entire time,” said Cormier. “I’ve got to get in great physical shape and I’ve got to be ready to stay the course for 25 minutes. I’ve got to do everything right if I’m going to beat this guy. He is the longest reigning heavyweight champion for a reason, and I need to respect him in that way. I need to make necessary adjustments to get my hand raised.”
Cormier was asked if he failed to give Miocic proper respect entering their last fight.
“I just finally watched the fight for the first time the other day, and I was watching my body language,” Cormier explained. “My hands being carried low was almost like a lack of respect for him. I thought I could just walk him down and bully him, but he wasn’t having it. I learned my lesson. He taught it to me.”
Losing is a foreign concept to Cormier (22–1, 1 NC) and Miocic (19–3), two of the most elite fighters in the sport. The 41-year-old Cormier is considering making his next fight his last one, and it would be fitting to see him retire with the title. But he refuses to take Miocic lightly, which he believes came back to haunt him in their last fight.
“I beat him the first time bad and I was winning the second fight bad,” said Cormier. “I started to think, ‘This guy doesn’t have anything for me,’ but he does. He’s dangerous. He can knock you out, he has an abundance of skills, and I need to fight with that level of respect from the opening bell to the final bell.”
A priority for Cormier in the trilogy fight will be focusing on his wrestling. Wrestling is embedded in Cormier’s soul. He stood out on the wrestling mat in high school and college at Oklahoma State, and it has been a hallmark of his MMA success. He will forever remain grateful for the opportunities he earned through the sport.
“Without wrestling, I wouldn’t have an education,” said Cormier. “Without wrestling, I wouldn’t have left Louisiana. Without wrestling, I wouldn’t have been able to fight like I have. It’s responsible for everything. I cannot stress how important it’s been in my life.”
Cormier is raising funds for Wrestling Prep, an organization committed to building better wrestlers, by making personalized videos on Taki. All proceeds from Taki are being donated to Wrestling Prep, which is offering free online seminars and training during the pandemic.
“I’ve known Carolyn [Wester], the woman that owns Wrestling Prep, for a long time,” said Cormier. “When Taki asked me about a charity, I said I wanted to do it for this one. It’s been a great partnership. I’ve been able to do some very inspiring videos for people, some fun videos, and some sad videos, ones that have touched me in a number of ways.
“Wrestling Prep is a program looking to help kids prepare for college with SAT prep, ACT prep, and through wrestling. It’s been a blessing and an honor for me to be part of something like this.”
Cormier will also be part of the broadcast team this Saturday for UFC 249, which takes place at an empty arena in Jacksonville. The card is overflowing with talent, and Cormier even has the chance to call broadcast partner Dominick Cruz’s return to the Octagon.
“I’m so excited to see Dominick come back and fight ‘Triple C’ Henry Cejudo,” said Cormier. “Justin Gaethje versus Tony Ferguson is also a crazy fight. You know when those two dudes fight, it’s going to be magic, plus we’re going to see [Jairzinho] Rozenstruik versus [Francis] Ngannou. This fight card is so big that Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone are fighting on the prelims.
“I’m a massive fan of the fights, and I can’t even explain how excited I am for this weekend. I can’t wait to get to Florida to watch those fights.”