What’s next for UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier continues to be a big mystery for the MMA world. Retirement? Brock Lesnar? Jon Jones? Every time UFC president Dana White is asked, he deflects the question by pointing out that Cormier is injured. Cormier can’t event fight right now, so let’s wait until he can and then we’ll figure this thing out.
So what exactly is wrong with “DC” and when might we expect him to return? The heaviest champ-champ ever opened up on that subject in an interview with MMA Weekly.
”I f**ked my back up at UFC 230,” Cormier said. “It hasn’t recovered as fast as I hoped it would.”
Back injuries are notoriously finicky. As for the UFC 230 incident, Cormier says it was a mere sneeze that laid him out days before his fight with Derrick Lewis, nearly derailing another UFC main event. And while he’s not in pain now, he’s giving his back the time it needs, and that means no training and no fighting.
“I have to take some time off. I had to take some time to try and make myself healthy because my schedule was so heavy last year. Three fights, three five round training camps, very heavy training camps. Last year was three championship fights, I did ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, I did all my commentary duties, I took that high school wrestling job in the middle of the year. It’s just a heavy, heavy year and I just need some time to get myself back in order.”
“You think you’re better but then you’re not and when you’re not better, you’re really not better. You feel fine but when it goes out you’re on the floor crawling. It’s a weird thing.”
Cormier noted that the last time he took on as much as he did in 2018 was 2015, and he needed a similar break.
”I had to take nine months to try and get myself reset,” he told MMA Weekly. If Cormier takes a similar 9 month break, he won’t fight again until August 2019.
The break could work out well for Cormier financially, as well. The best bang for buck fight is clearly Brock Lesnar, and he’s currently back with the WWE while Roman Reigns undergoes treatment for leukemia. Who knows what could happen later, but right now is clearly not an option for Lesnar. And then there’s Jones, who is eager to make up for lost time by clearing out all the contenders at 205. A third fight between the two would only be bigger after Jones re-establishes complete domination over his division.
So while Cormier’s absence may be unfortunate for the UFC, it only makes however many fights he has left more profitable for him. And it makes it less likely that we have another main event cancelled last second, in this case on account of a seized up back.