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‘The belt is what matters’ - Daniel Cormier tells fighters to pick title shots over ‘money fights’

Title shots or ‘money fights’? As a former champion himself, Daniel Cormier gives his take.

Over the recent years, there’s been an increase in the demand for “money fights” in MMA.

Dustin Poirier, for one, went for a third fight with Conor McGregor instead of fighting for the then-vacant UFC lightweight title. And recently, Max Holloway also mentioned a possible rematch with “The Notorious,” even with a potential third title fight with Alexander Volkanovski on the table.

Indeed, there’s been that conversation about whether or not a money fight is a better, more practical option than a title shot. For someone like Daniel Cormier, who’s been there and done that, the shift in priorities and career goals is expected with the signs of the times.

But for him, a world title still bears more weight, at the end of the day.

“When did that title become not as important in terms of chasing out money?” Cormier said during a recent YouTube video he upload on his channel.

“For a long time, all the champions were the money fights. They had the belts. But now, the landscape’s changing. The sports world’s changing, and I think fighters are starting to change with it. But I do believe that it all comes back around to that championship.

“Now, Dustin Poirier got his money fight, made a boatload of money twice with Conor McGregor. Said something the other day, ‘If I had to retire now, I could. I’m comfortable. But I’ve got some ass-whoopings to hand out.’ So it ultimately goes right back to that 13 pounds of gold.”

“I think, when it’s all said and done, those memories with that title is what really does stay with you. Because you can have all the money in the world, you can make all the memories. But the memory of standing there and getting that belt wrapped around your waist is one that cannot be replaced.”

Cormier is now urging current top-tier fighters to not forget about the gold belt and what it represents.

“Take the money fight if it’s there. But ultimately, go get that belt. That belt is what matters,” he said. “That belt will allow for you to tell your kids and your family at some point, ‘I was the best fighter in the world.’ Not many will get to say that.

“Money fight vs. title fight… I love what Miesha Tate’s doing. Miesha said, ‘You know what? This belt motivates me. I want to be the champion.’ But I also love what Dustin Poirier did in the summer and said ‘Let me get my money, and then I can get back and pursue this goal.’

“It all works in a big circle. But at the end of that circle, in the middle, is 13 pounds of gold. So you’ve gotta go chase it. It’s invaluable to be the champion of the world.

“So get your money, but ultimately, go get your belt.”