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I was ‘severely limited’ - Daniel Cormier says he ‘should’ve stopped’ fighting in 2018

Former double-champ and UFC Hall-of-Famer Daniel Cormier reunites with Ariel Helwani to discuss one career regret.

Former UFC double-champ Daniel Cormier during his Hall of Fame induction in June.
Former UFC double-champ Daniel Cormier during his Hall of Fame induction in June.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Daniel Cormier made history for himself in July 2018 when he became the second double-champ in UFC history. That year, he won the heavyweight belt by stopping Stipe Miocic in the first round, while he held the undisputed light heavyweight title.

“DC” went on to defend the heavyweight belt four months later with a submission win over Derrick Lewis. And in his recent MMA Hour appearance and reunion with former ESPN co-host Ariel Helwani, Cormier says he should’ve called it quits then.

“Me fighting Stipe Miocic after my back surgery those two times, that wasn’t the same fight. I couldn’t wrestle. I should’ve stopped in 2018. I should’ve retired after (the) Derrick Lewis (fight), especially when I had back surgery,” he explained.

“I was so severely limited, it was crazy. With my wrestling workouts, I went from wrestling 30, 40-minute rounds and matches to doing ropes and jump roping and just doing wrestling movements without the physical contact of the wrestling. It was crazy. I couldn’t wrestle like I wanted to.”

Cormier, who was 39 at the time, scheduled his retirement for his 40th birthday in March 2019. But because of his back surgery, he was forced to postpone it and take two more fights against Miocic, both of which he lost.

He ended his career at 41 in 2020 with a record of 22-3 (with 1 NC).