In calling for his shot against UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 252, Daniel Cormier is attempting to do something that almost never happens in the world of combat sports. The 41-year-old told Heavy he plans to finish his MMA career on top of the sport.
“These kinds of fights don’t happen very often,” Cormier said.
Cormier faces Miocic for the third year in a row on August 15 in the main event of UFC 252 at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. One of the UFC’s most affable and accomplished fighters, “DC” sat down with Heavy this week to discuss his plans for Saturday night’s massive heavyweight title fight.
UFC 252 takes place August 15 at 10 p.m. Eastern time at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. It will air as a pay-per-view on ESPN+.
Among the many things he had to say, Cormier sounded off on how he plans to achieve his storybook UFC ending. So we’ll breakdown the full UFC 252 card while also taking a deeper dive into his comments.
UFC 252 Fight Card Information and How to Watch
What: UFC 252: Miocic vs. Cormier 3
When: August 15
Where: UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Time: 10:00 pm ET (Main Card PPV), 8:00 pm ET (ESPN+ Prelims), 7:00 pm ET (ESPN+ Early Prelims)
How to Watch: ESPN+ pay-per-view
The card listed below is subject to change.
UFC 252 Main Card (ESPN+ PPV)
Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier
Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera
Junior dos Santos vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
John Dodson vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Herbert Burns vs. Daniel Pineda
Prelims (ESPN) and Early Prelims (ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass)
Jim Miller vs. Vinc Pichel
Ashley Yoder vs. Livinha Souza
Chris Daukaus vs. Parker Porter
Felice Herrig vs. Virna Jandiroba
TJ Brown vs. Danny Chavez
Cormier Envisions Doing 2 Things That Don’t Happen Very Often
“These kinds of fights don’t happen very often.”
Cormier is right that fights of this caliber do not happen very often, and the same could be said about the other thing the former two-division world champion is trying to do at UFC 252.
Because what Cormier is essentially going after on Saturday night is to win a kind of fight that doesn’t come around very often while simultaneously doing something else that probably happens even less often: Cormier wants to recapture UFC gold and retire on top.
From the outside looking in that seems like a ton of pressure, but Cormier welcomes it.
“A lot of people talk about [fighters] putting too much pressure on themselves, but the pressure is earned,” Cormier said. “The only time there’s pressure is when you try to do something amazing.”
Cormier has already accomplished some amazing things in the sport. Among the most impressive would be that he’s one of only seven fighters in UFC history to win titles in more than one division and he was the second-ever (and one of only four) UFC simultaneous double champions.
So Cormier said he doesn’t feel any added weight on his shoulders heading into such a huge fight for the simple fact that a fighter with those kinds of credentials is already used to that.
“You want to earn that pressure,” Cormier said. “You want to be in those spots where legacy and all those other things are on the line. I’ve lived there for a long time, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Cormier Reveals How He Prepared for UFC 252
Still, Cormier admitted to knowing how important and special the achievement he’s attempting to accomplish is. To that end, Cormier also revealed how his preparation for UFC 252 was like no other camp before it.
“I’ve done everything,” Cormier said. “I’ve trained as hard as I possibly could. I’ve committed myself to this camp like I’ve never done, and I’ve tried to prepare myself to go out and beat one of the greatest heavyweights of all-time, if not the greatest heavyweight champion of all-time.”
Like numerous other MMA observers and historians, Cormier also believes the winner of UFC 252 will be considered the best heavyweight fighter of all-time.
Cormier believes he’ll be the one to garner that impressive accolade when the dust settles at UFC 252 because he’s already beaten Miocic before, and he knows he can do it again.
“I’ve done it before,” Miocic said. “I’ve just really been diligent in my preparation to get the job done. I know what it takes to win the fight, and I know I have the ability to beat Stipe Miocic again.”
Cormier’s Gameplan Includes More Wrestling and Less Boxing
Cormier’s gameplan for Miocic in the third fight is to enter the fight in better overall shape and not let the UFC heavyweight champion turn what should be an MMA fight into a boxing match.
“I fell in love just trying to knock him out,” Cormier said. “It felt so good to do it the first time that I thought that maybe I could do it again.”
Earlier this year, Cormier famously revealed that his opponent should bring his wrestling shoes to their third fight, alluding to his intent on taking the clever boxer down to the mat much more this time around.
And Cormier didn’t back off that idea just a few days before the fight.
“Just being a complete mixed martial artist and not being so one dimensional,” Cormier said. “In the last fight, I became a boxer. It was a boxing match between him and I. I need to make sure I’m doing everything, that I’m using all of my tools to ensure that I get the victory. I can’t just be one dimensional. I can’t just be boxing Stipe Miocic. He’s too good at that.”
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Miocic vs. Cormier 3 Is All About Adjustments
Cormier revealed that the third fight would hinge on which fighter adjusts to what happened during their two previous encounters.
He admitted he probably shouldn’t have tried to outbox Miocic in the second fight because Miocic would have had to be prepared for that kind of approach after Cormier knockout him out in the first fight.
“The reality is that he’s too good to fall for the same thing twice,” Cormier said.
Cormier believes the same thing will apply to Miocic, who some have suggested will simply try to use the same kinds of body shots that worked in the second fight to beat Cormier again in the third encounter.
“And I’m going to be too good to fall for the same thing twice in the rematch,” Cormier said. “Those body shots that saved him last time will not be as available in this rematch.”
Whatever happens in the final fight, one thing is clear.
Cormier believes he has a perfect plan for what he believes will be his final UFC fight. He’s reflected on how the first two fights went, committed himself to train like never before and truly believes he’s on the cusp of what would arguably be the biggest and most important win of his career.
Now all he has to do is be right. And then execute that perfect plan.
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