Daniel Cormier knows his career is coming to an end sooner rather than later.
Now that doesn’t mean the reigning heavyweight champion is walking away from the sport tomorrow. In fact, Cormier, his coaches and UFC president Dana White have all cast doubt on his previous proclamation that he would be done fighting by the time his 40th birthday rolled around in March.
Because of lingering injuries and the prospect for a couple more huge fights, Cormier may get tempted to stick around much longer than his March deadline but he also knows retirement isn’t that far away either.
Whether that end date is in March or another year down the road remains to be seen but Cormier has definitely contemplated what his life will look like without being a fighter any longer and what he’ll miss most about his mixed martial arts career.
“The walk, the tunnel. It is just fantastic,” Cormier told the ‘Jim Rome Podcast’ when asked what he’ll miss most about fighting. “You walk out of that locker room and it’s almost like you’re about to head to a funeral. Everybody is worried and nervous and then the music hits the speakers and all that fear turns into butterflies and your skin starts to crawl and you’re like OK let’s go. Let’s go do what I really know I was made to do.
“You get to compete again Daniel Cormier so go out there and do it in a way that you know you can do it. Go and fight this man. Go and try to take this guy that’s trained and been living in the gym for the past eight weeks to prepare to try and beat you and take this title, you go out there and you give him no reason to believe he could ever be the champion. That just makes me shoot out of that tunnel. That’s why I run. I have a fire in my pants that tells me I need to go and do business. I’m going to miss the walk.”
Perhaps the other element that Cormier will miss the most when his career is finished are those few solemn seconds he has just before a fight begins as the Octagon clears and he’s left alone with just himself, a referee and the guy standing across from cage trying to take everything away from him.
“I’m going to miss stepping into the Octagon. I’m going to miss that moment that it’s me in there and it’s [Bruce] Buffer and it’s my opponent and the referee and the commission and then I take three steps back after we shake hands and I look across and I look to my left and I look to my right and nobody else is there anymore,” Cormier described. “It’s just me, that official and that guy.
“From day one to now, every time they put that pin in the cage. 18,000, 20,000, 13,000 [people in attendance], I’ve heard it. I heard that little ping. I’ve heard that ping of that little pin dropping into that holster. I’ll miss hearing that and then the feeling that you get when you know that at this point it’s either you or him. That’s what I’m going to miss.”