If former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has to retire in an empty arena, then so be it.
The uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic has thrust ‘DC’s’ trilogy bout with UFC heavyweight rival Stipe Miocic in jeopardy, but Cormier is confident the fight will still go ahead in the summer.
With that said, Cormier expects the event to take place behind closed doors, which means the former Olympian will have to retire with no audience in attendance.
But the way Cormier says it, there’s a first for everything. Speaking to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani in a recent interview, the 41-year-old said avenging his loss to Miocic behind closed doors could be ‘the perfect way to go out’ but insisted that his family be in attendance to witness his send-off.
“It’s going to end that way,” Cormier said (h/t MMA Fighting). “Empty arena and if it’s at the (UFC) Apex, I think the cage is smaller. It’s like the Ultimate Fighter cage, so that’s a whole other fight. It’s a smaller cage than the one we fight in for pay-per-views. But yeah, I’ll go fight this guy in the empty arena. I want to fight him. Yeah, you know, it could end like that or it could end like Vince Carter. Vince actually got lucky that they got to finish their game. Vince got to finish their game and everybody kind of moved off the side and he shot a three-pointer. You can not have a chance to finish, so at least I get an opportunity to finish.”
“I don’t know how it would work with my family. That is the one thing I would want. I would want my wife and kids to experience that last one, but I don’t know if that’s even gonna be possible if it’s done in that way. So, a little bit different, a little different though. I was pretty confident that it was gonna happen at the time in my head that I know, but right now I don’t know when in the summer it’s gonna happen. But I just can feel that when it does, it’s gonna be bigger than it was ever gonna be. . . More good fights, more people at home watching. It’s gonna be the perfect way to go out - on top, as the man.”
Cormier is currently tied 1-1 with Miocic. The MMA veteran KO’d Miocic to win the heavyweight title at UFC 226 but lost the belt after being TKO’d by Stipe in the blockbuster rematch at UFC 241. The trilogy bout is expected to take place during International Fight Week in July, although the UFC has yet to make it official.