Daniel Cormier admits he continued his career for too long: “I should have retired after Derrick Lewis”

daniel cormier
AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Former UFC light-heavyweight and heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier admits that he carried his career on for nearly two years longer than he should have.

Daniel Cormier ended his career as a multiple world champion across two weight classes, defeating some of the best of his generation. Still, looking back at his career Cormier admits that he should have done some things a little differently, acknowledging that he retired too late.

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Cormier retired in August of 2020 following his third fight with Stipe Miocic in which Miocic would defeat ‘DC’ for a second time. Looking back though, Cormier says he should have retired even before his second fight with Miocic.

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I can’t train to fight the way I want to fight,” Cormier told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “Me fighting Stipe Miocic after my back surgery, those two times, that wasn’t the same fight. I couldn’t wrestle! I should’ve stopped in ‘18. I should’ve stopped in ‘18. I should have retired after Derrick Lewis. Especially when I had back surgery.

“I was so severely limited it was crazy. My wrestling workouts, I went from wrestling 30, 40 minutes rounds and matches to doing ropes and jump-roping and doing wrestling movements without the physical contact of the wrestling. It was crazy. I couldn’t wrestle like I wanted to.”

Cormier said that he almost knew the moment he should have called it quits but instead slugged on, allured by the status of champion.

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I had surgery in December after Derrick Lewis. I blew my back out the morning of the fight. I should have just said, ‘I thank God, and I’m out.’ I got this extra money, I’m still the champ — I don’t think they’d even taken the light heavyweight belt from me yet, because Jones and [Alexander Gustafsson] fought at the end of the year. I could have been done, but I just didn’t.” (H/T MMAFighting)

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Daniel Cormier on MMAFighting

Daniel Cormier legacy

Should Cormier have retired after his first title defense against Derrick Lewis it could really alter his standings in regard to people’s perception of his legacy and how it may rank against his contemporaries.

Although many have the 43-year-old high up on a GOAT list, should he not have taken the rematch against Miocic, he would not suffer any losses to him, undefeated at heavyweight, all while retiring on a win against the defending heavyweight champion. Not to mention Cormier was still the light-heavyweight champion too at that point.

Should Daniel Cormier have retired after his first fight against Derrick Lewis?