Daniel Cormier used to tell anyone who would listen that he wanted to retire from mixed martial arts competition by the his 40th birthday this past March. Instead, the UFC heavyweight champion is readying himself for a title defense five months after turning 40 and seems to have softened his stance on hanging up his gloves.
Cormier is set to rematch former champion Stipe Miocic this Saturday in the main event of UFC 241 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The two first met at UFC 226 in July 2018 when then-light heavyweight champ Cormier knocked out Miocic in the first round to capture the heavyweight belt. Prior to losing the title, Miocic was considered by many the greatest heavyweight in UFC history after three consecutive successful title defenses.
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Facing such a serious threat in his second defense of the heavyweight title, Cormier seems to have his focus solely on the fight, leaving aside immediate talk of a new deadline for retirement.
"I've long said I don't want to be a guy that goes out on my back," Cormier said in a recent interview with MMA Fighting. "A lot of our greatest champions they leave the sport on their back. They leave as former champions. They leave their fans with that last vision of their favorite fighter on their back, [then] standing in the middle of the Octagon while their belt is getting strapped on someone else. I don't want to be that guy.
"I want to be a guy that goes out on his own terms. I know that, as you turn 40 years old, that time starts to near. I just have to decide if that time is now or a little bit later down the line."
Should he get past Miocic in the rematch, talk will almost certainly begin of yet another fight with longtime rival, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. But neither man has seemed interested in moving from their respective weight classes where they currently reign at the top.