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There are only 11 days left until the end of the biggest trilogy in UFC heavyweight history. True, the ones between Andrej Arlovski and Tim Sylvia and Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos were big and legendary in various ways, but this one is somehow more significant from the sports aspect.
We are looking at the fighter who defended the heavyweight title the most times and on the other side the fighter who held the heavy and light heavyweight titles, with each defending at least once. In addition, it should be the last fight in the career of 41-year-old Daniel Cormier.
In a big interview, given to Mike Bohn from the MMA Junkie portal, Cormier talked about a lot, but all with a focus on the fight he will do on August 15th.
He once again confirmed that it will be the last in his career. But the question immediately arises as to how to resist calling for another fight, especially if the financial side continues to be just as good.
It seems that Daniel is still a man who cares more about what he will leave behind and how he will present himself than whether he will add some more money to his and now very substantial bank account.
“Money is one thing and I have earned a lot of it and there will always be the talk of more money. You can be the best in the world until someone overpowers you. I want the opportunity to leave while I am on top. I have won a lot. I am one of the lucky people in this sport and now I have this opportunity to go to the top. Look how everyone persuades Georges St-Pierre to come back and he replies to them how happy he is to have gone to the top. I have that task left to me and I think that if I succeed to master, to be the greatest thing I have achieved in my career,” DC said.
He recently stated that he was not well enough prepared for the last fight, primarily because his sore back made it difficult for him to prepare, which is why he knew how to interrupt training or take unexpected breaks. This time he decided he wouldn’t allow it.
“When we started preparing for the camp, I said that if my back started to hurt again, and if I was not able to do everything properly, we would cancel the fight. We said that we would do the camp in the right way, without restraint, so if the body endured we would fight. I think I’m the best I can be now and it’s the perfect time to do a trilogy,” he announced, only to then turn to the very fact that there was a trilogy and current rivalry here.
Especially since it all started with defending the title at the same event (UFC 220) and actually a phone conversation through which they agreed to fight, but also coaching roles in Ultimate Fighter before that. Today, it is strange for him to see what all this has grown into:
“It’s all strange to me. I remember when I first asked for a fight against Stipe Miocic. I never thought this could happen. I’ve been preparing for him for three years in a row. I know very well who Stipe is and what he will try to do. I know his approach. Through these three years, I have gained a lot of respect for him and for his skills. Much more than I had before the first fight or before the rematch. You learn a lot about a man if you are focused only on him for a long time. When you train three years for someone and the fights go the way the first two are your relationship changes. Before the first fight, we were almost friends. Now everything is different, but I don’t think I will have bad emotions towards him when it’s all over.”
This is not Cormier’s first rivalry, as the one with Jon Jones was even more pronounced and, according to many, even bigger, even though they only had two fights. In one, Jones won by referee’s decision, while his victory by knockout from the second fight was taken away from him after a doping fall. Today when he compares, Daniel says this still means more to him because it will bring some final opinion about his career and achievements.
“This is something that will define my career. This is our third fight and I intend to win it. It will be hard for me to ever escape the rivalry with Jones because he was really big. We sold a lot of tickets and the relationship was nasty. We were awful to each other and the public paid extra attention to it. But this is a bigger and more important thing to me because I am fighting a man who has always represented the right attitude and who has fought and competed in the right way. Jones is a fantastic competitor and I think has gotten the best out of me in terms of preparation. But I think Stipe has done the same now,” the former double champion thinks very interestingly.
As for the fight itself, he gave an equally interesting prognosis. Although the first two fights did not meet with a sign for the end, he thinks that this time it will happen, since they know each other well enough to know how to respond to each other’s greatest dangers. Cormier is focused only on the fight and what will happen in it. The things before and after it are not even on his mind at the moment.
“If we both prepare in the right way, I think it’s going to be a 25-minute fight. I’m going to do more things than last time. Stipe then did a fantastic job with his adjustment in the middle of a fight. But it’s also realistic to look at the situation as I was incredibly tired and that it worked on me. Even when a man like that hits you, it does a lot of damage. I was so tired I couldn’t think of a real defense and it saddens me today. I know what I need to do and this time it will be so. I am focused on a fight, and not thinking about what will be after it. I’m just thinking about what will create the greatest joy for me, and that is the belt around my waist. I want to experience it one more time and that’s all I’m thinking about,” he said. To which he confirmed that motivation is directed exactly where it should be.
No one doubts that Stipe Miocic, as well as Cormier, are facing a difficult task and a struggle for life. On August 15, both will have to be at their best, and the biggest winners then should be the fans.