Stipe Miocic and his team have recently talked about facing "new" challenges when the UFC heavyweight champ returns to action following surgery to correct an eye injury. That seemed to indicate a thought to move away from the planned trilogy fight with Daniel Cormier, the former two-division champ who has said he will either fight Miocic one final time or retire from the sport. UFC president Dana White, however, has now made it clear the UFC has no other plan for the heavyweight title than a third edition of Cormier vs. Miocic.
"It's very clear," White told ESPN. "[Miocic] is hurt. When he's not, we'll make the fight. You saw Cormier basically come out and say, 'Stipe has the ability to retire me. If he doesn't take this fight, I'm going to retire.' We'll see how this thing plays out."
Miocic has been on the shelf due to surgery to address injuries suffered from eye pokes in the second fight with Cormier. Miocic regained the heavyweight belt with a fourth-round knockout in August. In their first meeting, in July 2018, Cormier won the title with a knockout in the first round.
Speaking with ESPN in January, Jim Walter, Miocic's agent, stated, "After his health is cleared, we hope to have Stipe back in competition this year in a fight that makes sense and against an opponent that Stipe has not beaten before. He is more than wiling to defend his belt. If an opportunity presents itself outside the UFC, Tyson Fury and Stipe spoke face-to-face in Las Vegas at the Conor McGregor fight."
On the UFC Fight Night 166 post-fight show, Cormier addressed those comments saying the fight would happen.
White also addressed the possibility Miocic could remain out of action long enough to force the UFC's hand on kickstarting the division again. Though, White noted, Cormier has been offered other fights with Miocic out of action but has not taken the UFC up on any of those options.
"I have offered him other fights," White said. "[But] he feels Stipe is the fight he can get up for. That's what he wants. And he doesn't want anyone else. I can't make him fight anyone else. He needs to do it. I'd like to see that fight happen."