Back in January 2018, Daniel Cormier set a date for his retirement. DC told reporters that he would be “done fighting” by March 20, 2019 which would be his 40th birthday. But six months after making that statement, Cormier shocked the world when he defeated Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 to become the UFC heavyweight champion. After winning the belt, Cormier pushed the deadline and stated that he wanted two more fights before he retires and openly admitted that one of the bouts he’s eyeing is a potential big money fight with former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.
Big Money Fight With Brock
Lesnar entered the octagon “WWE style” after Cormier beat Miocic and engaged the new champ in a physical confrontation. After the incident, UFC President Dana White gladly announced that he would love to make the DC vs Lesnar fight. Lesnar. Unknowingly, Lesnar had already re-entered the UFC’s drug testing program days before UFC 226 and as a result, the current WWE star would be eligible to fight again in January 2019.
Lesnar has been the WWE’s Universal Champion since April 2017 but despite that, he’s made few TV appearances for the company. His next fight is slated for Wrestlemania on April 7th and after that, a UFC return could be in the works for the Beast Incarnate.
UFC President Dana White recently said that both Cormier and Lesnar “really want it”, referring to the fight. Of course, the UFC would want that fight as well because ever since Conor McGregor went on hiatus, the UFC’s PPV numbers have gone down. Remember that before the Notorious, Lesnar was the UFC’s top PPV cash cow. With DC also set to retire soon, it wouldn’t hurt to fight Lesnar because it would mean a huge retirement pay for Cormier.
What About Stipe?
But while the Lesnar fight is commercially appealing, it defeats the purpose of having the rankings. Although rankings have never been the sole criterion behind title shots, it should give an idea of who the champion should fight next. If we take a look at the UFC heavyweight rankings, the number one contender in the heavyweight division is none other than the immediate former champion Stipe Miocic. But why is Miocic out of the current picture?
Cormier knocked out Miocic cold within one round at UFC 226 and because of that, Dana White didn’t want to give Miocic an immediate rematch. You see, the UFC isn’t fan of giving former champions immediate rematches, especially when they were knocked out our beaten one-sided. But remember that DC has already made a title defense against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230. Why not give Miocic the rematch next?
It’s also partly Stipe’s fault because since the loss, he’s refused to take a fight, insisting that he should get a rematch in his next fight. Miocic has a point. He defended the UFC heavyweight belt three consecutive times, the most by any heavyweight champion in UFC history. But the UFC isn’t a fan of that premise nor has the UFC been a fan of Miocic ever since. Remember when he defended his belt against Francis Ngannou? The UFC promoted the challenger more than him. Maybe it’s his low key nature or what but the UFC is certainly not in a hurry to give Miocic a rematch.
Jon Jones Trilogy?
Another potential opponent for DC would be his bitter rival Jon Jones. Jones and Cormier have a long history, from that press conference brawl several years ago to Jones stopping Cormier at UFC 214 in 2017. When Jones returned to the UFC last December, he reclaimed the UFC light-heavyweight belt with a dominant win over Alexander Gustafsson. Since that win, Jones has defended the belt with a one-side win over Anthony Smith.
After his latest win, Jones was asked about a potential rematch with DC and while his answer was leaning to the positive, Jones indicated that he isn’t keen on fighting Cormier at heavyweight, alluding that heavyweight is DC’s alley. Instead, Jones said he was more interested in strengthening his legacy as the best 205-pound fighter in the history of the sport. But wasn’t he already the light heavyweight GOAT even before he got into his troubles?
Jones is without doubt the most talented fighter to ever step foot inside the UFC octagon. It’s just a pity that he wasted a significant amount of time on the sidelines because of legal and/or drug related issues. Despite that, Jones is still only 31 years old and has several prime years left ahead. However, if he insists on cleaning up a division which he has already done before, I’m not sure what that does with his legacy, not just as the GOAT of light heavyweight but as the TBE in MMA. Surely, a move to heavyweight is the best move. I’m just not sure whether Bones wants it.
Cormier’s Next Fight
If there is a fourth fighter who deserves a shot at Cormier, it’s #2 ranked Francis Ngannou who recently annihilated former two-time champion Cain Velasquez. But if you ask me, the pecking order is Miocic then Ngannou because before the Predator went on his current streak, Miocic beat him in a one-sided title defense.
I’m not sure why the UFC isn’t giving Stipe Miocic the rematch yet. Before Cormier got lucky with one punch, Miocic was dominating the heavyweight division like no other. Perhaps the low-key style of the Cleveland fireman doesn’t go well with the UFC. Miocic is hard to promote because he doesn’t have the personality and flare of the UFC champions before him.
The key date here is April 7th because that’s Brock Lesnar’s next fight in the WWE. If he “loses” the title at Wrestlemania, that would be a clear indication that he may be exiting the WWE, even if it were temporarily. Dana White talked about a possible summer bout between Cormier and Lesnar. But if something happens along the way and that bout doesn’t push thru as expected, then I smell a trilogy fight with Jon Jones next. And Miocic would be bypassed again.