CLEVELAND — Former two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier wants one more fight inside the octagon before calling it a career, and he is looking at only opponent.
Cormier wants his last UFC fight to be for the heavyweight championship of the world against Cleveland’s Stipe Miocic…and the former titlist is eyeing a rematch before the end of 2019, at UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on December 14.
“I’m going to fight this guy again,” Cormier said in an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show Monday. “My intention is to fight him in the right way. …It has to be Stipe. No one else matters.”
Currently, Miocic is recovering from his championship victory over Cormier at UFC 241 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on August 17, but when he is ready to step back into the octagon, UFC president Dana White confirmed to Barstool Sports last week that a trilogy fight between the top-ranked heavyweights is in the works.
And that was music to Cormier’s ears.
“I’m not in a place right now where I’m chasing, I’m waiting, I’m begging,” Cormier said.
“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.”
Nearly 14 months after dropping the title at UFC 226 in July of 2018, Miocic regained the UFC heavyweight championship with a come-from-behind fourth-round knockout victory over Cormier in the main event of UFC 241.
After struggling to find his range in the first three rounds, Miocic picked his spots during the fourth frame and was sticking and moving, engaging with punches, including several left hooks to Cormier’s ribs, and getting out of the pocket before the defending champion could respond.
Then, after a lead hook to the body, Miocic landed a straight right hand to Cormier’s chin. That wobbled Cormier and Miocic moved in for the finish. Miocic landed three right hands before connecting on three short lefts while putting Cormier against the cage.
As Cormier slumped to the canvas, Miocic alternated right and left-handed punches and forced the referee’s stoppage with 52 seconds remaining in the fourth round.
It was the first time in Cormier’s career that he was knocked out in a heavyweight fight.
“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.”
During the first fight, Cormier faked an uppercut out of a clinch, came over the top with a right-handed strike and floored the defending champion. With Miocic on his back, Cormier pounced and landed multiple strikes before the referee called a stop to the proceedings late in the first round.
The record-holder for the most consecutive successful defenses of the UFC heavyweight championship, Miocic improved to 19-3-0 in his professional career with the redemption victory over Cormier, including a 13-3 mark since joining the preeminent mixed martial arts organization.
Cormier is 22-2 with one no-contest in 25 professional bouts.
“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.”