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UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier: ‘I had back surgery in December’

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UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has revealed the nature of the injury that had him on the shelf for a while.

MMA: UFC 230 - Cormier vs Lewis Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

When the idea of a UFC heavyweight title title defense against Brock Lesnar was looming, many were wondering why champ Daniel Cormier was clear that it wouldn’t take place until the summer. For a man that was looking to get a few fights and happily retire, it didn’t make much sense.

Later on, UFC president Dana White stated that DC was injured, but wouldn’t discuss the nature of the injury. Now, we have some answers.

Cormier (21-1, 1 NC, 11-1, 1 NC UFC) was a guest on The MMA Show on ESPN today, and explained that his back was jacked up and required him to go under the knife (transcribed by

“The reason I haven’t fought, and the reason I didn’t fight in March, was because I had back surgery in December. When I was about to fight Derrick Lewis, and I was telling you guys all how I sneezed and how my back was so jacked I didn’t know what was going on.

“It was so bad that about a week later – two weeks later, I started having pain going down my hip. So I was like, ‘Yo, what’s going on with my hip?’ And I would travel, then right around Christmas, I went to Milwaukee for that last Fox show because I was like, ‘I have to do it, last time I’m gonna work for Fox’. Even though my hip was bothering me.”

He continued on and described what exactly happened:

“And then Cain [Velasquez] was gonna fight [Francis] Ngannou and I went in to try and help him, and I mean, I barely did anything. My back was bothering me so bad, the next morning I couldn’t even walk.

“I had a disc that was bulging out of my back and sitting on my sciatic nerve. It was out two inches of the chamber that holds the disc in. Two inches the disc was out - I couldn’t even walk. Deron Winn actually had to carry me out of my house and into my truck to take me all around to see doctors because my wife was having to deal with my children. It was bad.

“I would have fought in March if I was healthy. I probably really shouldn’t have fought Derrick Lewis.”

Instead, after Brock Lesnar abruptly retired, Cormier will meet Stipe Miocic in a rematch at UFC 241 in July.