Daniel Cormier says he wasn’t fully prepared for his championship rematch with Stipe Miocic at UFC 241, chalking his fourth-round TKO loss down to distractions in his personal life and at the gym.
“I think it’s more pronounced because I want to win so badly and I feel like I just fumbled so bad,” Cormier said on ESPN (h/t MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew). “I fumbled really bad last time. I fumbled in a lot of ways. I was so distracted with everything going on in my life and I was so focused on coaching and all these other things that I kind of just fumbled. I fumbled bad and I wasn’t prepared as I needed to and I got tired. Like, I got tired. I can admit it. I got tired. He hit me with those shots in the end, he hurt me to the body and he hurt me to the head and I didn’t react because my body couldn’t react because I was so tired, and I will not allow that to happen again. If he ever finds a way to hurt me, I need to fight back like I did in every other instance in my entire life. I didn’t do that last time and it sits with me every single day.
“That’s why everybody is like, ‘Man, you’ve always got people around you.’ Because it sucks to be around my thoughts. When I’m just stuck with my thoughts a lot of time, I start thinking about the things that I didn’t do that got me beat last time.”
Cormier believes he got too comfortable with Miocic in the rematch because of how easily he disposed of the two-time heavyweight champion in their first fight and how much success he was having in the early rounds of the rematch.
“I think that’s what happened to me,” he said. “I was very comfortable because I felt like I was better—and I still do believe I’m better—but that was even almost like reaffirmed after the first round because I landed almost everything I threw. Even after the fight, I think I landed like 70 percent of my strikes. I barely ever missed so it was just a bad combination that got me beat. So I think about it constantly. It’s bad.”
While Cormier might have ‘fumbled’ the rematch, ‘DC’ said Miocic will be facing ‘the best version of Daniel Cormier’ at UFC 252.
“I just want to do what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “If that means win, that means win. But I want to compete to my ability. That wasn’t the best of my ability. I know that because of who he is, there’s a chance he could beat me. You’ve got to be stupid to think that a guy who has done all he has done can’t win a fight. But if he does, I want him to beat the best version of me.
“If he wins that fight, I want him to do it by beating the best version of Daniel Cormier, not a guy who isn’t even a year out of back surgery and not in the best physical condition, isn’t able to train himself to be who he is. That’s all I want. I want to be able to go out there and compete to my potential, and with that said, I feel my potential is me winning the fight.”
UFC 252: Miocic vs. Cormier III takes place next month, August 15 at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.