Four months from now, tomorrow, Daniel Cormier will turn 40 and the champ-champ has repeatedly said he will not fight beyond that date. But, it seems pretty clear Dana White hopes the star changes those plans.
Cormier has publicly talked about his exit strategy from fighting for some time, and “DC” has also repeatedly said he doesn’t plan to change the timeline for his retirement. He’s continued to do so despite repeated calls for him to do so. After Cormier won the heavyweight title in July, there was extensive speculation about whether he might also defend the light-heavyweight belt, before March 20th, 2019, his 40th b-day.
But since the UFC was hoping to have him fight Brock Lesnar in early 2019, the chances of that happening looked slim. Now Jon Jones has been booked to fight Alexander Gustafsson on December 29th, and when the fight starts, the 205 title will be vacated.
Now that Lesnar reportedly has a new WWE deal, there’s been questions raised as to whether he’ll fight in the Octagon anytime soon. So, that has renewed speculation about what the future holds for Cormier. Recently TMZ caught up with White, and when asked about Cormier’s short-term future, the UFC President said this (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I don’t know [if Cormier’s last fight will be next year],” White said. “We don’t know that either yet. I think Cormier’s got a couple left in him.”
“I hope so,” said White. “That was what I would like. I would like to see Jones and Cormier fight at heavyweight but right now, Cormier’s team wants him to retire right now. They want him to retire right now. I hope we can get three more fights out of him.”
There’s a couple of things to look at here. One, the fact White has said Cormier’s “got a couple” is interesting, since it’s nearing the end of November, and “DC’s” next bout has yet to be finalized. So, it’s almost impossible to imagine Cormier fighting two more times before March 20th.
Of course, this ties into the ongoing discussion, as to whether the UFC could convince Cormier to postpone his retirement. If Jones defeats Gustafsson at UFC 232, and emerges relatively unscathed from the bout, then, in theory, he could be ready to challenge “DC” for the heavyweight belt before 03/20. Would “Bones” be interested in doing this? It might be the only circumstances where he would be, since Jones has already defeated Cormier twice, and recent comments he’s made indicate he’s not really interested in fighting his rival again at 205.
But, at the end of the day, all this will come down to Cormier and his family. As it stands right now, there’s nothing really to go on, which points to Cormier postponing his retirement.