As the UFC continues working toward an expected trilogy bout between Stipe Miocic and former heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, the current king of the division is on the defensive following less than encouraging comments from UFC president Dana White.
Miocic recently told Uproxx Sports the only delay in getting back into the Octagon and defending his belt is his ability to train, with Ohio under stay-at-home orders until May 29. With limited equipment at home, Miocic added he would fight “anyone” as long as he has a full camp when his gym opens back up. That put Miocic competing this summer into question, to which White responded to Barstool Sports, “You either want to fight or you don’t.”
White called holding off on putting together a heavyweight title fight for Miocic until August “unrealistic” and wouldn’t rule out the possibility of stripping the champion of his belt.
In a Twitter thread following White’s comments, Miocic made it clear he wants to fight Cormier, that his management is working on dates and that he “can’t control a global pandemic.” This is the most definitive Miocic has been in months, initially delaying a return fight for Cormier after undergoing eye surgery to repair a torn retina suffered in their last bout. After successful surgery, Miocic’s agent told ESPN that his client would return to “competition this year in a fight that makes sense and against an opponent that Stipe has not beaten before.”
Cormier, however, has been relentless in his approach to getting what could be his final UFC fight as a professional.
“When you lose to a guy like Stipe Miocic, he beat me and I need to go get that right. If I don’t get that right, I don’t know how I’m going to live with myself,” Cormier later told Uproxx Sports.
For Cormier, it’s not necessarily his competitiveness that’s driving this fight. According to the man himself, it’s knowing he was better than Miocic all along.
“I lost to (Jon) Jones, but he was better,” Cormier said on his weekly podcast on ESPN (H/T MMA Junkie). “Stipe Miocic is not better than me, and that’s going to be something I regret for the rest of my life, is letting him get a victory over me. It should’ve never happened.”
With the UFC hosting its first live event since shutting down operations in March this weekend and Miocic’s latest comments around accepting a third fight, a final showdown could be on the horizon. Whether that means the champ has to get creative to get back into training or not remains to be seen.