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Coach says Daniel Cormier doesn’t have to retire: ‘He’s not performing like a 41-year-old’

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“He’s in shape. His mind is sharp, his reflexes are sharp. He’s fighting like the best heavyweight there is.”

Daniel Cormier is adamant about retiring after his trilogy bout with Stipe Miocic at UFC 252, but head coach Javier Mendez believes ‘DC’ still has plenty more miles on the clock.

Mendez, who is the head coach at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), has been keeping a close eye on Cormier during his training camp for UFC 252 and says the former two-division champion is still training ‘like the best heavyweight there is’.

“He’s not performing like a 41-year-old,” Mendez told MMA Fighting’s Steven Marrocco ahead of UFC 252. “He’s in shape. His mind is sharp, his reflexes are sharp. He’s fighting like the best heavyweight there is.

“If you’re performing at that level, who’s to say you should retire? Only he can decide if he wants to retire. His abilities can say he can do it longer. I don’t know how many fights he could do, but he can definitely do it now.”

Although Mendez knows Cormier is still more than capable of fighting, the former kickboxing champion will support DC’s decision to retire after UFC 252 — if that’s what the MMA veteran really wants.

“If you’re asking me, would Jav want him to retire? Yes, I’d want him to retire after this,” Mendez said. “I wanted him to retire before this. So from my point of view, I want him to retire, but I don’t know what he wants.

“It’s a matter of what he wants to do, and for me, I was against him fighting because he was against fighting. As soon as he changes his mind, of course, I’m going to be on board with him because I know he can do it.

“For my taste, if he retired, I’d be very happy with that. I didn’t particularly care if he fought this one or not, but he wants it, so if you care about your fighter, you stand by him.”

With that said, Mendez believes Cormier could be lured back into the cage for the right paycheck.

“He may say, ‘Yes, I’m done after this.’ But you’ve been around and I’ve been around, and [UFC President] Dana [White] throws a lot of money at you, sometimes it’s hard to say no.”

UFC 252: Miocic vs. Cormier III takes place this Saturday, Aug. 15 at the UFC Apex Center in Las Vegas.