Former Double Champ Daniel Cormier Has Strong Take on UFC Retirement

Daniel Cormier & Joe Rogan

Getty Daniel Cormier & Joe Rogan

Former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier recently said that he should have retired from mixed martial arts in 2018 instead of fighting — and losing — two more times.

“DC” was recently featured on Ariel Helwani’s “The MMA Hour,” and during their conversation, Cormier opened up about the way his career ended. In July 2018, Cormier moved up to heavyweight from the 205-pound division — where he was the current champion — and took Stipe Miocic’s belt via first-round knockout.

Cormier became the second-ever fighter to simultaneously hoist two divisional titles. DC went on to defend the heavyweight strap later that year by besting Derrick Lewis with a rear-naked choke.

After the Lewis win was when DC should have walked away from the sport, Cormier told Helwani.

Instead, Cormier rematched Miocic in August 2019 and lost the heavyweight championship by way of fourth-round TKO. And in August 2020, DC fought Miocic in a trilogy to regain the belt but he lost to the American again — that time by unanimous decision.


DC Said He Suffered a Back Injury That Should Have Been Career-Ending

Cormier told Helwani he wasn’t the same fighter after the Lewis bout, and that meeting Miocic twice after was a mistake.

“I can’t train to fight the way I want to fight,” Cormier said (h/t MMA Fighting). “Me fighting Stipe Miocic after my back surgery, those two times, that wasn’t the same fight. I couldn’t wrestle! I should’ve stopped in ‘18. I should’ve stopped in ‘18. I should have retired after Derrick Lewis. Especially when I had back surgery. I was so severely limited it was crazy. My wrestling workouts, I went from wrestling 30, 40 minutes rounds and matches to doing ropes and jump-roping and doing wrestling movements without the physical contact of the wrestling. It was crazy. I couldn’t wrestle like I wanted to…

“I had surgery in December after Derrick Lewis. I blew my back out the morning of the fight. I should have just said, ‘I thank God, and I’m out.’ I got this extra money, I’m still the champ — I don’t think they’d even taken the light heavyweight belt from me yet, because [Jon] Jones and [Alexander Gustafsson] fought at the end of the year. I could have been done, but I just didn’t.”


Cormier Said He Was ‘A Better Fighter’ Than Miocic But Couldn’t Show It

DC (22-3, 1NC), who had only lost to Jones in his pro MMA career prior to the second Miocic scrap, was 41 years old in his final UFC contest. And Cormier told Helwani that if he had met Miocic when they were younger, the outcome would have been entirely different.

“I don’t know if I almost won, honestly,” DC said. “I was winning the first round, then the second round I was winning but then he dropped me. Then the third round he dropped me and I’m having to take a round off to recover. Third round I got poked. Fourth round I won the round, and then the fifth round he just kept clinch me.

“He won the fight, and I’m not one of those guys who is going to sit here and lie. Dude won the fight. But, dude wouldn’t have — I don’t think he ever would have beaten me when I was younger and I was doing everything. I was just a better fighter.”

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