A large contingent of MMA fans may still think that UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier isn’t the true champ after he won the belt because his rival and longtime former champion Jon Jones was stripped of the title following an April arrest on felony hit-and-run charges in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Jones should tentatively be back in action sometime soon after striking a plea deal that got him 18 months probation and a slew of charity appearances, but now, he might be waiting for Cormier to return to the cage himself.
The 36-year-old champ is apparently looking to take a break from fighting after an absolutely grueling 2015 that saw him go five rounds with “Bones,” submit Anthony “Rumble” Johnson for the belt at FUC 187, and finally edge out a gritty Alexander Gustafsson in a classic war at UFC 192. “DC” detailed his mindset in a recent appearance on the Jon Anik and Kenny Florian podcast:
“I have no idea (when Jones will be back); all I know is that I’m taking a break. In 2015, I fought Jones, I fought ‘Rumble’ Johnson, and I fought Alexander Gustafsson. I fought the toughest guys the division has to offer – all in 10 months, at 36 years old. I need a little bit of a break. I fought seven times in two years in the UFC. I need some time to sit back and spend with my family. … I want to take a break, and I think I’ve earned it.”
There’s no doubt that “DC” has earned a break from the cage after taking on the three other best light heavyweights in the world; his year has been one of the best in in UFC 205-pound history and is probably only bested by Jones’ insane 2011 and Chuck Liddell’s historic 2006.
Cormier has repeatedly stated that he will not face Jones in his native New York next, where the UFC is planning a grand show at Madison Square Garden on April 23, 2016. We still don’t know when “Bones” will return to the cage, but now it appears that it’s going to be on “DC’s” time.
The aging former Olympic wrestler has also teased retirement, but not before he faces and defeats Jones twice. Taking into account that Cormier has been fighting without an ACL in one of his knees for years now, and it’s understandable that he needs a little time off to spend with his family.
He’ll certainly have a big fight waiting for him whenever he does decide to return.