Daniel Cormier won’t be retired by his 40th birthday after all.
The reigning UFC heavyweight champion had designed the end of his career to come before turning 40 in March but unfortunately a back injury suffered around his last fight has caused a delay to those plans.
Cormier revealed details of his injury, which is still plaguing him right now and that’s why he doesn’t have an exact timeline for his return to action.
“I f—ked my back up at UFC 230. It hasn’t recovered as fast as I hoped it would,” Cormier said.
“Just trying to heal up. Once I heal up, I can start looking forward to what’s next but right now it’s just handle these injuries. Just get better.”
Cormier had a very busy 2018 including three title fights across two divisions while also coaching a season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and taking on the head coaching job for a local high school wrestling team.
Between the fights, his training camps and all the work he was doing outside the cage, Cormier was due for a break and that’s what he’s getting right now while allowing his back to recover from injury.
“I have to take some time off. I had to take some time to try and make myself healthy because my schedule was so heavy last year,” Cormier stated. “Three fights, three five round training camps, very heavy training camps. Last year was three championship fights, I did ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, I did all my commentary duties, I took that high school wrestling job in the middle of the year. It’s just a heavy, heavy year and I just need some time to get myself back in order.
“The last time I fought like that was in 2015 when I fought Jones, I fought ‘Rumble’ and I fought Gustafsson. I didn’t fight again until the next July. I had to take nine months to try and get myself reset. Last year, I had that kind of schedule, too.”
As far as his retirement plans, Cormier can’t say for certain how many fights he has left but he knows that March deadline will not be met because he just can’t compete right now.
Cormier says he absolutely planned to abide by his original plans when he first laid them out last year but right now nothing is set in stone until he’s healthy again.
“He wants me to fight three more times, so we’ll see what happens. I don’t anticipate me fighting three more times but let him be happy for a while” ~ Daniel Cormier on Dana White
UFC president Dana White has said candidly that he believes Cormier has at least three fights left before he retires.
“You know that’s him being hopeful,” Cormier said about White’s comments. “A lot of times with Dana, he’s such a powerful guy that he can say things to the point where you believe them.
“He’s a powerful guy. He does control the narrative in mixed martial arts. He wants me to fight three more times, so we’ll see what happens. I don’t anticipate me fighting three more times but let him be happy for a while.”
According to the former two-division UFC champion, his future inside the Octagon really comes down to timing and opportunity.
There’s still a potential showdown with former heavyweight champion and current WWE superstar Brock Lesnar that could net Cormier the biggest payday of his career.
Cormier could also face off with Jon Jones for a third time as that simmering rivalry has never cooled down for the past five years.
There are a lot of possibilities out there but Cormier isn’t ready to say exactly how many fights he has left or the date he’ll retire because right now he just doesn’t know.
“I’ve said since I fought Derrick Lewis that I was going to fight in March and I was probably going to be done. Well I got hurt so I couldn’t fight in March so what if it’s one more fight and I’m done? You don’t know,” Cormier stated. “It could be two fights, if I feel great it could be three fights, I just don’t know.
“Day by day. Right now, it’s get healthy so I can fight at least one more time and then we’ll see what happens.”