Daniel Cormier could retire today and have one of the best legacies in all of mixed martial arts. But the light heavyweight champion hasn’t said anything about walking away – in fact, he’s even mentioned going back up to his old stomping ground at heavyweight.
Cormier currently sits atop the 205-pound division, and has wins over some of the sport’s best. He’s defeated Anthony Johnson, Alexander Gustafsson, and even former pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva. His only two losses are to Jon Jones. But given Jones’s history of trouble, many see those defeats with an asterisk.
Cormier rose through the ranks at light heavyweight quickly, dispatching numerous top contenders on his way to facing Jones for the first time. He fell short in his initial title bid, losing a decision then heading back to the drawing board.
But one man’s blunder is another’s opportunity. When a rematch was scheduled, and Jones was forced to pull out due to a failed drug test, an interim title was created. Cormier captured the gold, but made it clear his sights were still set on his old rival.
The two met again this year, and this time, Jones dispatched Cormier in the third with a vicious head kick. But after it was revealed that Jones had performance enhancing drugs in his system during this fight as well, he was stripped of the undisputed title and removed from the rankings. Cormier was re-crowned as champ, and is expected to face Volkan Oezdemir in early 2018.
But before Cormier cut down to 205 to find gold, he amassed an impressive record at heavyweight. Defeating the likes of Antonio Silva, Frank Mir, and Josh Barnett, he proved he could hang with the best of the best in the big-man division.
Now content with his career and his legacy, Cormier has tossed around the idea of venturing back up in weight.
“That would take some thinking, some talking and a real solid plan to try to get back to the type of weight that I would need to compete against those guys. Because, again, I’m not going in there to lose and say I gave it my best shot. If I go in there with Miocic or Ngannou, I’m going to win. That’s just who I am.”
Cormier originally dropped in weight for the sake of his teammate, Cain Velasquez. Velasquez was the bigger of the two, so it made sense for him to fight at heavyweight and Cormier to fight at light heavyweight. But although Velasquez is a former heavyweight champion, he’s been sidelined with injuries for a good portion of his career. He is tentatively scheduled to return in 2018. If the opportunity presented itself, Cormier could very well go up in weight for a fight without inconveniencing his teammate.
The heavyweight picture is as solid as it’s been in a long time – defending champion Stipe Miocic is expected to take on hard-hitting Francis Ngannou at UFC 220. Cormier will defend against Oezdemir on the same card.