Cormier will fight once more, but only vs. Miocic

Daniel Cormier will not retire just yet.

The former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion said Monday on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show that he will return to the UFC, but for just one more fight. And the only opponent he is interested in facing is Stipe Miocic.

Miocic knocked out Cormier in the fourth round to win the heavyweight title at UFC 241 last month. In July 2018, Cormier knocked out Miocic to take the belt in the first round. Cormier wants a trilogy bout, and it’s the only one he’ll come back for, he said.

“I’m gonna fight this guy again,” Cormier said. “My intention is to fight him in the right way. … It has to be against Stipe. No one else matters.”

Win or lose against Miocic, Cormier said, “the next one will be the last one.” This will be his retirement fight.

Cormier said he’d be ready to compete “the sooner the better.” He said if there’s an open spot on the UFC 245 card Dec. 14, he would be willing to fight Miocic then. He is not sure if Miocic has accepted, but he knows the UFC is working to put the fight together. UFC president Dana White said as much in interviews last week.

“They just told me they’re gonna go talk to Stipe,” Cormier said. “That’s it. I’m just worried about what I can control.

“I’m not in a place right now where I’m chasing, I’m waiting, I’m begging. I’m not gonna do any of that stuff — I don’t need to. … I hope he fights me, run it back like I ran it back for him. I didn’t necessarily have to. I could have took that win last July and said that was beautiful and fought somebody else.”

Cormier said that if he had beaten Miocic last month, he probably would have retired. Cormier’s father was fighting colon cancer during the training camp for the bout and died a week after the fight. Cormier said that at 5:30 p.m. on fight day he got a call that his father was back in the hospital, and the situation affected him against Miocic. Cormier said he fought emotionally.

“I’m really not trying to take anything away from Miocic and his corner,” Cormier said. “I just lost. But I felt I could have done a lot of things better.”

Cormier, 40, was winning the fight on the judges’ scorecards heading into the fourth round when Miocic stopped him with a body shot and right hand to the head. Cormier said he didn’t feel a threat from Miocic’s power — until it was too late.

“That was just great work by him,” Cormier said. “It goes to the fighting mindset and the ability of Stipe Miocic. He went hard body shot. And the one that hurt me, instead of chasing that again, he went up top.”

Cormier said if and when the two meet again, he will fight with a better cage IQ. Right after the bout, he admitted he should have wrestled more. Cormier, who twice made U.S. Olympic wrestling teams, had success wrestling in the first round and never went back to it.

“We run it back,” Cormier said. “A true heavyweight rivalry will carry a sport, and I think right now we have that with Stipe and I. I intend to go back and get the job done and fight the way I train to fight.”

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