The window for the remainder of Daniel Cormier’s career is rapidly closing.
Cormier, who is 39, has said that he will step away from the sport by his next birthday which leaves little time to face both Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar after next month’s UFC 229 main event slot with Derrick Lewis.
Speaking to ESPN recently, Cormier stated that he has just two bouts remaining on his contract aand, depending on how the bout with Lewis transpires, he may be forced to pick between Brock Lesnar and Jon Jones for his final bout.
“Counting the Lewis fight, I think I’m down to two fights left,” Cormier said via MMA Fighting. “Maybe this will be a blessing in disguise, the fact that I don’t have a crazy, long fight camp to beat myself down. That may prolong it for me, but right now, I think I have this one and maybe one more. I can still fight in March and hit my retirement date. The one opponent that would matter to me most is Jones, because he’s beaten me twice.
“The one that would mean more financially would be Lesnar. I think I would always pick the one that means more, but my wife might have something to say about that.”
Cormier’s status as the UFC’s second-ever simultaneous double champion meant that he was top of the line when the UFC began searching for an amended UFC 230 headliner and, with Derrick Lewis never more popular (as well as 9-1 at heavyweight) he was happy to answer the UFC’s call — provided, of course, that the offer was right.
“I didn’t think I was going to fight on this card, but the deal I got was so good,” Cormier said. “There was no way I could say no, honestly. Especially with a guy like Derrick, who is not known for the best cardio. I’ve got to start fast and hope I can push harder than him, even with a short camp.”
Cormier continued, saying that he accepted the fight with Lewis but would not have done so with Stipe Miocic under similar circumstances.
“I would not have accepted a rematch against Stipe Miocic on short notice, he’s too good under these circumstances,” Cormier said. “I’m not saying Derrick isn’t good, but Stipe is capable of beating me in different ways. He does different things well. I think in this fight, Derrick has to knock me out to win.
”Usually, if a guy only has one path to victory, I do pretty well. Yes, I will admit the opponent factored into this.”