Daniel Cormier got into MMA late in life, after he’d already dedicated the vast majority of his youth to his wrestling career that saw him reach the Olympics.
He’s done well at MMA, too – phenomenally well, going undefeated at heavyweight and winning champions there, as well as in the light heavyweight division. He’s always said he intends to retire before 40, which comes around this March.
Cormier won his heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic, and immediately after (as in the post-fight interview), Cormier got his next challenger lined up – Brock Lesnar. Despite being inactive for years and last performing at UFC 200 where his win was overturned to a no-contest over a failed drug test, Lesnar’s drawing power had apparently earned him another title shot.
Score 1 for Lesnar, 0 for logical matchmaking.
But there will be another challenger for Cormier’s heavyweight crown before then. It was recently announced he’d be meeting Derrick Lewis at the main event of UFC 230. The card had lacked a headliner for months, and Cormier said the offer he got was too good to turn down.
Lewis got his spot for good reason. While some would say his infamous speech after his come-from-behind victory at UFC 229 earned him the shot, he is 9-1 in his last 10 fights and is currently the number-two-ranked contender in the division. Why the former champion, Stipe Miocic, was not given an immediate rematch if Cormier had time for another fight before Lesnar is anyone’s guess.
But if Cormier is right in that he only has two fights left in him, counting the Lewis fight, neither Miocic or Lesnar may get the honor. That’s because there’s one man who has bested Cormier in the Octagon, and he’d like to get one more shot at making things right.
Cormier’s only loss in MMA is to former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. And while he technically fell to Jones twice, the second was overturned to a no contest following Jones’s failed drug test. Now Cormier says the Lesnar fight appeals to him on the basis of finance, but the Jones fight on the basis of legacy.
He said: “I can still fight in March and hit my retirement date. The one opponent that would matter to me most is Jones, because he’s beaten me twice. The one that would mean more financially would be Lesnar. I think I would always pick the one that means more, but my wife might have something to say about that.”
Cormier has said his willingness to face Lewis on short notice stemmed from the pay he was offered plus the fact Lewis isn’t exactly known for his cardio. And while he’d likely need a full camp to get ready for someone like Jones, there’s no telling whether that fight will ever materialize – and if it does, in what division.
Should the two men meet at heavyweight, it would be Jones’s first fight there, and it is a division where Cormier is undefeated.