UFC two-division champ Daniel Cormier has long hinted that his MMA career will be over soon.
The decorated pound-for-pound king said he would ride off into the sunset after facing Brock Lesnar following his UFC 226 title win over Stipe Miocic last summer. But uncertainty surrounding Lesnar’s eligibility due to drug tests has left that fight up in the air right now. In the time
After Jones defeated Alexander Gustafsson, hype for a trilogy bout between “Bones” and Cormier took the forefront of many discussions in fighting. Jones said he wouldn’t move up to heavyweight for the fight, however, and signed on for a reported title defense against Anthony Smith at UFC 235. That’s left Cormier’s next move uncertain. Dana White has voiced his desire for Cormier to fight three more times. His AKA head coach Javier Mendez has hinted that may be the case.
When He’s Gone
Either way, Cormier will be 40 years old in March, and his time in the sport is winding down. When he does finally step away, he’ll justifiably miss a lot about fighting. ‘DC’ touched on just what he’ll miss most during a recent appearance on ‘The Jim Rome Podcast’ (quotes via MMA News). For him, it’s the excitement that precludes a fight that he will miss most:
“The walk, the tunnel. It is just fantastic. You walk out of that locker room and it’s almost like you’re about to head to a funeral. Everybody is worried and nervous and then the music hits the speakers and all that fear turns into butterflies and your skin starts to crawl and you’re like, ‘Okay, let’s go. Let’s go do what I really know I was made to do.’
“You get to compete again, Daniel Cormier, so go out there and do it in a way that you know you can do it. Go and fight this man. Go and try to take this guy that’s trained and been living in the gym for the past eight weeks to prepare to try and beat you and take this title, you go out there and you give him no reason to believe he could ever be the champion. That just makes me shoot out of that tunnel. That’s why I run. I have a fire in my pants that tells me I need to go and do business. I’m going to miss the walk.”
Thrill Of The Octagon
For the once-champ-champ, there’s one solitary moment of solitude right before a fight that helps his define his MMA experience. It’s something few truly know about, and another aspect of MMA Cormier will miss:
“I’m going to miss stepping into the Octagon. I’m going to miss that moment that it’s me in there and it’s [Bruce] Buffer and it’s my opponent and the referee and the commission and then I take three steps back after we shake hands and I look across and I look to my left and I look to my right and nobody else is there anymore. It’s just me, that official and that guy.”
Finally, Cormier opened up about a minute detail of each UFC event that most fans don’t know about. That moment is the dropping of the pin to lock the Octagon. That signifies it’s truly him vs. his opponent for Cormier, and another part of fighting he’ll miss most:
“From day one to now, every time they put that pin in the cage. 18,000, 20,000, 13,000 [people in attendance], I’ve heard it. I heard that little ping. I’ve heard that ping of that little pin dropping into that holster. I’ll miss hearing that and then the feeling that you get when you know that at this point it’s either you or him. That’s what I’m going to miss.”
It’s apparent that Cormier has a true respect for the fight game. He’ll no doubt be missed when he does finally step down, but should be present on UFC broadcasts for some time to come. We still have a little time left to revel in ‘DC’s’ greatness, however, even if we don’t know what that means just yet.
One thing is certain. When Cormier retires, the sport of MMA will lose one of its greatest-ever competitors.