Daniel Cormier suffered from COVID-19 in camp ahead of UFC 252

Daniel Cormier

It has been exactly one month since we saw UFC 252. That night, Stipe Miocic (20-3) solidified himself as the greatest heavyweight in the promotion’s history with a second win over Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC). DC announced his retirement after the fight.

A lot of people questioned DC’s sluggish performance at UFC 252. There were rumors that he had not been healthy during the camp which didn’t allow him to train at his optimum levels. Luke Rockhold hinted at this in a recent interview with Brendan Schaub.

Earlier this morning, we found out what exactly happened to Cormier in his camp. In an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, Cormier said that he tested positive for COVID-19. He came down with it after a teammate tested positive at AKA.

Did it impact UFC 252?

Cormier detailed what had happened telling Iole over the fourth of July weekend leading up to UFC 252. “Over the weekend, I started feeling a little sick. I got tired and peaked. On Monday night/Tuesday morning, I wasn’t feeling so good. My resting heart rate had been 50 beats a minute. Now it was at 57,” Cormier said.

The former UFC double champ went on to say that his resting heart rate got up to 67. After continuously not feeling good and feeling sluggish, Cormier went to the doctor where he found out that he had COVID-19. It obviously had been impacting his training camp.

DC was quick to say that COVID-19 is not an excuse for losing at UFC 252. “This is not an excuse at all. Miocic won the fight and he fought beautifully,” Cormier told Iole. This all came out as the UFC announced a partnership with Oura Health. The Oura Smart Ring helped Cormier diagnose his issues.

It’s clear that Cormier wasn’t at his best at UFC 252. Does all the credit go to Stipe’s performance or do we sit and wonder on how COVID impacted DC’s performance. Fighter’s deal with things all the time that never make it out to the public.

I will say that I don’t believe Cormier said this to downplay the UFC heavyweight champions performance a month ago. I think he announced it to help the UFC show off their new partnership with Oura. Still, one has to wonder now how COVID-19 impacted UFC 252.

Former UFC champ Daniel Cormier on retirement: “Yeah, I’m not going to fight anymore”

Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC) made it clear leading up to UFC 252 that he would be walking away following his fight with Stipe Miocic (19-3). Cormier went on to lose a unanimous decision to Miocic back on August 15th.

The former two division UFC champion told Joe Rogan in a post-fight interview that he would only fight again if it was for championships. That of course seemingly cracked the door on a potential return for Cormier.

Today, Cormier returned to his ESPN show with Ariel Helwani. Helwani simply asked the former UFC champion if he was done. Cormier replied with, “Yeah, I’m not going to fight anymore.”

Future UFC Hall of Famer

Cormier continued, “I told Joe Rogan after the fight that I was only interested in fighting for championships…I’ve lost two fights in a row for the first time in my career. You have to understand when it’s time.”

DC went on to talk about the fact that he might have been hit with the right hand by Miocic at UFC 252 that dropped him in the second round was, “Because I’m older.” Cormier will be turning 42 years old next March.

Initially, Cormier didn’t want to fight in the UFC past his 40th birthday. Of course, the potential fight with Brock Lesnar kept him going. The fight never materialized and Cormier agreed to giving Miocic a rematch after DC won the belt from him at UFC 226.

When DC was finished by Miocic, he said that he couldn’t walk away after that performance. He waited for Miocic to heal up and the two rematched at UFC 252. Losing twice left Cormier no where to go and at 41 years old, he acknowledged that it’s time to move on with his life.

Daniel Cormier’s Legacy

DC is truly one of the best fighters to ever do it. Unfortunately for him, he fought as the same time as Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic. Those two men had Cormier’s number when no one else could solve his puzzle. Cormier will no doubt go into the Hall of Fame as a former two division UFC world champion.

I do feel bad for Daniel Cormier. There people who do not put a ton of stock in his UFC light heavyweight title run since he never defeated Jon Jones. There are also now people questioning his first win against Stipe having lost twice to Miocic. People have said the shot might have been pure luck.

At the end of the day, Cormier won the heavyweight title clean. When Jones was out, he beat every man at light heavyweight to capture the title. While pundits can always talk, there is no questioning the legacy that Daniel Cormier will leave inside the octagon.

UFC: Stipe Miocic isn’t interested in a rematch with Francis Ngannou

MMA, Stipe Miocic

Following UFC 252, it seemed like there was a pretty clear plan for the heavyweight division. Stipe Miocic (20-3) defeated Daniel Cormier to cement his legacy as the best heavyweight in UFC history.

After defeating DC for the second time, it seemed like there was a clear next challenger. Francis Ngannou (15-3) has knocked out four consecutive opponents in 2:42 total to earn a rematch with the champion, Miocic.

UFC President Dana White made it clear that Ngannou was next for Stipe. Many wondered if Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) would jump ahead of Francis with his move to heavyweight. White made it clear that Ngannou would be next. However, the champion doesn’t seem interested.

Stipe wants something different

In a Q&A on Instagram, Miocic stated, “Francis isn’t exciting to me. Already put on a 25 minute clinic on how to beat him. Want a new challenge!” The UFC champion is clearly wanting something other than the Ngannou rematch right now.

Ngannou deserves a shot, but Miocic does have a point. Their first fight was not close. What does Miocic really have to gain from fighting Ngannou again? That fight is way more risk than reward for the champion.

The UFC could find themselves in a pickle over this situation. What do you do if the most decorated champion in heavyweight history turns down the number one contender? The answer is actually pretty simple.

Yes, White has emphatically stated multiple times that Jon Jones will not jump the line in front of Ngannou. White did say Jones would get an immediate title shot, but Ngannou would get his first. However, Miocic might be able to force the issue with his statements.

The UFC’s dilemma

The UFC is in a unique spot, but it’s not a spot they hadn’t been in before. When Khabib Nurmagomedov was clearly deserving of the lightweight title shot a few years back, the promotion gave the shot to then featherweight champion, Conor McGregor, who wanted to move up.

I could see a similar scenario playing out here with the UFC heavyweight title. While Ngannou should get the next shot, I could see the promotion shifting to the greatest of all time facing the greatest heavyweight of all time.

Making that fight would not be fair to Francis, but it would get Stipe excited, and the fight would be a huge legacy fight. Will be interesting to see what the UFC decides to do.

Sean O’Malley on UFC 252 loss: “I lost to someone who’s not that good”

Sean O'Malley

Last Saturday night at UFC 252, Sugar Sean O’Malley (12-1) lost his first career fight to Chito Vera (16-6, 1 NC). O’Malley looked really good early on, but a leg injury compromised him in the first round.

Vera was able to take advantage and get the TKO victory. There has been some debate on whether the ankle injury was caused by a calf kick from Vera or if O’Malley just rolled his ankle. Either way, Vera took advantage and got the win at UFC 252.

After taking a few days to digest everything, O’Malley popped up today on his podcast, “The Timbo Sugar Show,” with his trainer and best friend Tim Welch. O’Malley broke down his thoughts following UFC 252.

The UFC’s Suga Show Rolls On

“Whoever wins, wins. Doesn’t matter how. He (Vera) won, but it sucks for me because I lost to someone who I don’t view as very good. It’s frustrating losing to someone I’m better than… In five years, I’m going to be the world champ while he’s going to be a journeyman,” O’Malley said.

“When I beat Eddie (Wineland), it was like peace, that was easy. He (Vera) gets lucky, beats me, and he gets up acting like he just won the f–king lottery. That showed me what kind of b–tch he was.”

It’s very clear that there is still some serious animosity between O’Malley and Vera. O’Malley mentioned in the show that his foot felt like it was asleep due to his tight ankle wraps. That combined with the kick could have led to his ankle rolling multiple times.

Either way, Chito got the win, and as O’Malley said, that’s what matters. If he was going to lose in the UFC, this is honestly the best way O’Malley could have lost. While you have to give Chito credit, the victory is far from being clean.

It’s not like both men were 100% and Vera caught O’Malley clean and won. Maybe the kick was the sole cause for the injury, but we will never truly know. Either way, there will be a lot of people who will always put an asterisks by the victory.

Personally, I would love to see the UFC run the fight back if O’Malley is relatively healthy. He said he had an MRI done yesterday and should have the results soon. If Vera beats O’Malley in the second match, it validates the first win as well. If O’Malley wins, he can prove that the loss was just due to the freak injury.

Pride’s Fedor Emelianenko vs UFC’s Stipe Miocic; who wins in their prime?

Fedor Emelianenko

At UFC 252, Stipe Miocic cemented his legacy as the greatest heavyweight in the promotion’s history. I think the last part of that sentence is truly important. The promotion’s history.

However, is Stipe the greatest heavyweight of all time? If everyone faced each other in their prime, would Stipe Miocic come out on top? I started thinking about the other man who’s widely considered one of that GOAT’s, Fedor Emelianenko.

I’m not referring to the Fedor that has fought in the US over the last ten years. I’m talking about the Fedor that put together a 30-1, 1 NC record in Japan fighting the best heavyweights of the time. Guys like Big Nog, Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Coleman, etc.

I started thinking about what would happen if the UFC‘s current heavyweight champion, Miocic, fought the greatest heavyweight in the history of Pride, Fedor, when they both were in their prime. Who would walk out with their hand raised?

UFC vs Pride

This is a fun debate, but the one thing you cannot deny is that these two men are the greatest heavyweights in Pride and UFC history. Fedor stands alone in Pride while Stipe stands alone in the UFC.

In breaking down a potential fight between the two, you have to look at the totality of their careers and skill sets. I’m going to be frank, if you didn’t witness Fedor in his prime, I truly feel sorry for you. You need to go watch old fights to educate yourself on just how good he was.

Fedor was incredibly innovative for his time. Dynamic on the feet, incredibly explosive, and arguably had the quickest hips on the ground out of any heavyweight I’ve ever seen. On top of that, he could take a punch and just keep coming.

The one big down side for Fedor was his size. If he would have been on a UFC PI nutritional plan, he could have easily been a light heavyweight or even a middleweight. At the same time, that’s what makes his accomplishments even more impressive.

Stipe Miocic has blown me away in his career. The man never struck me as the fastest guy or the most powerful guy, but he just knew how to get it done. Has a very good chin, but was finished twice including once by Stefan Struve.

However, Miocic just has this toughness to him. The guy has incredibly clean boxing technique with solid grappling. The two time UFC heavyweight champion has successfully defended the title four times which is a UFC record.

Miocic holds wins over all the top UFC heavyweights of this era minus Cain Velasquez. His hit list includes Daniel Cormier (Twice), Francis Ngannou, Junior Dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, and Fabricio Werdum.

As the sport has evolved, the competition has arguably gotten much steeper in the heavyweight division, and Stipe has stood alone. A few losses, but when it counts, he’s at his best.

So who wins?

This is such a tough call for me. If you told me that Pride’s Fedor fought the UFC‘s Stipe ten times, I might say that it would be 5-5. On the feet, technique wise, Stipe has the advantage. However, Fedor was drastically faster with his hand speed.

Factoring all grappling aspects into the game from wrestling to jiu jitsu, I would give the slight advantage to Fedor. Although, Stipe’s size advantage could play a big role in the grappling exchanges particularly against the fence.

In the end, if I had a gun to my head, I would lean towards Fedor Emelianenko in his prime. That is not to disrespect the accomplishments that Stipe Miocic has or to discredit the UFC champ, but I truly believe there was something special about a prime Fedor.

If one of the two men were to secure a finish, I believe that Fedor would be able to catch Stipe. Stipe has shown that he doesn’t have the cleanest defense in the world, and I think that Fedor’s speed and power would give him issues.

So if you ask me, I’m going with Fedor. It’s a fun debate, but I still believe the Pride Fedor is the greatest heavyweight I’ve ever seen.

BREAKING: UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, vacates title

UFC, Jon Jones

Earlier today, it was announced that the UFC was planning to have Dominick Reyes face Jan Blachowicz on September 26th. Many were wondering what that meant for the light heavyweight title.

Last week, Dana White said that the UFC would be having a light heavyweight title fight before the year was over. However, he didn’t say what that meant for Jon Jones. He said they were waiting to hear back. Well, the man himself just gave us our answer.

Bones going for the UFC’s heavyweight title?

It’s been clear for some time that Jon Jones was wanting to move up to the heavyweight division. There is really not a lot left for him to accomplish at 205 pounds. The only thing there would be the rematch with Dominick Reyes after many thought he lost to Reyes earlier this year.

However, the UFC‘s light heavyweight king seems to be ready to move on. I don’t believe he’s done because as of two days ago, Jones was very active on Twitter discussing his desire to compete for the heavyweight title. He made it clear that he wanted to fight Stipe Miocic after UFC 252.

Where do we go from here?

That is a very interesting question. White said in the post-fight press conference that Francis Ngannou was definitely next for the title. So does Francis still get the shot with Jones more than likely moving up?

That is a question that only the UFC knows the answer to. Obviously, there is no one more deserving of a heavyweight title shot than Ngannou. However, can the UFC turn down the opportunity to have the GOAT fight the heavyweight GOAT? Time will tell on this one.

UFC: How will we remember Daniel Cormier’s career?

Daniel Cormier

Last Saturday evening at UFC 252, we saw the end to the career of the great Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC). Cormier fell short in his attempt to regain the heavyweight crown against Stipe Miocic (20-3).

Cormier once said that his goal was to retire at 40 years old. However, what turned out to be a trilogy with Miocic, kept Cormier fighting well into his 41st year. Now, Cormier walks away from the UFC.

DC was emotional in his interview with Joe Rogan after the fight when speaking about retirement. You could tell the emotions were heavy after falling short to Miocic once again.

One of the UFC’s all time greats

Make no mistake about it, Daniel Cormier is one of the best fighters of all time. There is no debate. Cormier was just the second man in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously with the other being the great Conor McGregor.

DC is also part of the greatest rivalry the sport has ever seen with the GOAT, Jon Jones. The Jones – Cormier rivalry is something that all fans dream about. A personal rivalry between two of the very best in the world.

The two men hated each other and even fought outside the cage at a press conference. DC fought Jones twice and came up short both times. While Cormier was the light heavyweight champion when Jones was serving suspensions, there was always an asterisks by his name.

People recognized him as the champion, but there was always the thought that the only reason he was is because Jones was out. Because of that, Cormier didn’t get the respect a defending champion normally does. Cormier beat all the top contenders at 205, but because of his losses to Jones, he didn’t get the respect he deserved.

All of those comments went away at UFC 226. Cormier moved up to become the first light heavyweight champion to challenge the heavyweight champion. Cormier shocked the world by knocking out the most decorated UFC heavyweight champion in history in the first round.

With one right hand, Cormier got all the validation that he needed. DC went on to defend the heavyweight title against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230. Following that win, Cormier would drop his next two fights, both to Stipe Miocic.

In another point in time, there might not have been a man alive that could have touched Daniel Cormier. Unfortunately for him, he competed at the same time as the greatest fighter of all time, Jones, and the greatest heavyweight of all time, Miocic.

Four (Technically) losses to two men. But those two men are all time greats. At the end of the day, DC is truly one of the best we’ve ever seen. A no doubt hall of famer, and I hope that he’s remembered in that light as opposed to being remembered as someone who came up short to Jones and Miocic.

Three fights to make after UFC 252

UFC, Dana White

Last night we saw the end to perhaps the greatest trilogy in the history of MMA. Stipe Miocic (20-3) cemented himself as the GOAT at UFC 252 with his win over Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC).

We also saw Suga Sean O’Malley (12-1) suffer his first career loss at the hands of Marlon “Chito” Vera (16-6, 1 NC). However, that fight has a massive asterisks by it due to the way that the fight was finished.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1) was also able to right the ship against Junior Dos Santos (21-8) last night. With all the action and storylines, lets take a look at the three matchups the UFC should make after UFC 252.

Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou for the UFC heavyweight crown

Immediately after Miocic won last night, people were trying to figure out what would be next for the UFC heavyweight champion. Jon Jones sent out some tweets indicating he wanted a shot at Miocic. However, Dana White made it very clear what’s next.

The next UFC title shot is going to belong to Francis Ngannou (15-3). The Predator has been patiently waiting for his next shot at the gold. Ngannou did lose in his first attempt against Miocic, but that fight was almost three years ago.

Ngannou had rough back-to-back fights against Miocic and Derrick Lewis. However, since the Lewis loss, there has not been a more terrifying human in the UFC than Francis Ngannou. Ngannou has knocked out Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik in a combined two minutes and forty two seconds.

It was very refreshing to hear White be very clear about Ngannou getting the next shot at the UFC title. I believe that Jones needs to fight at light heavyweight one or two more times before his inevitable move up to heavyweight.

The rematch between Miocic and Ngannou is so fascinating. Miocic is the UFC‘s heavyweight GOAT, but Ngannou is so much better than he was a few years ago. It’s a massively dangerous fight for the heavyweight champion. Expect this fight by the end of the year or perhaps the first fight of 2021.

Chito Vera vs Sean O’Malley

Chito Vera and Suga Sean O’Malley were on their way to having a very fun fight last night until O’Malley hurt his ankle in the first round. A clearly compromised O’Malley crumbled to the mat and was finished off by Vera.

If you judge Chito’s post-fight interview, you would have think he completely outclassed and dominated the fight which was far from the case. In fact, Vera was getting touched up early and often.

O’Malley had Chito biting on nearly every feint that he was throwing. Also, Vera was hurt by multiple hard kicks early on. It looked like a technical display was coming from the Suga Show prior to the injury.

To me, it only makes sense to run this fight back. I think there needs to be a legitimate winner and I’m sorry to Chito, but you can’t claim that fight as a legit victory. He TKO’d a guy who couldn’t stand. Running this fight makes the most sense for the UFC and both fighters.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs Winner of Alistair Overeem/Augusto Sakai

Rozenstruik was able to get some confidence back last night after he knocked out the former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos. Bigi Boy was looking to bounce back after getting knocked out in 20 seconds by Francis Ngannou.

Thinking about what the UFC could do with Rozenstruik, I’m thinking a matchup between the winner of the Alistair Overeem – Augusto Sakai fight makes a lot of sense.

If Sakai is able to win, he will inch closer to the top five in the heavyweight division. He would have also won seven consecutive fights including five in the UFC. A fight between Sakai and Rozenstruik could put both men a fight away from the title.

Then of course there is Alistair Overeem. Overeem and Rozenstruik have history together. They headlined a Fight Night back in December. Overeem was clearly winning the fight and was just seconds away from securing a decision victory.

However, a massive left hook knocked Overeem out in the final seconds of the fifth round. Rozenstruik showed that he’s dangerous until the final bell. Given the nature of that contest, I would love to see a rematch. Those potential matchups makes sense considering everyone else in the top four will likely be paired up.

UFC: Dana White wants to meet with free agent Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler

At the UFC 252 post-fight press conference, the media asked Dana White about the hottest free agent on the MMA market. That free agent is the former Bellator lightweight champion, Michael Chandler (21-5).

The media asked if White wanted to meet with Chandler, and White responded, “I would love to meet with him. That guy has earned it. I would love to meet with him.”

The UFC and Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler is coming off of a massive win in his last contest at Bellator 243. Chandler knocked out former UFC lightweight champion, Benson Henderson, in the first round of their fight.

For years, Chandler has been considered one of the best fighters in the world. However, because he fought in Bellator, a lot of people didn’t give him the respect he deserved. The UFC‘s lightweight division has always been the deepest in the sport, but the same can’t be said about Bellator’s.

Despite not having the deepest talent pool, Chandler continued to show just how talented he was. He holds wins over former UFC champions Eddie Alvarez and Benson Henderson. Chandler is 34 years old, but he looked the best he’s ever looked in his last contest.

There are so many exciting matchups for Chandler inside the UFC. Chandler against anyone in the top five of the division would be a very good fight. Chandler has great wrestling, very good boxing, and top notch power.

I fully expect the UFC to meet with Chandler very soon, and I believe that a deal will come together rather quickly. I’m sure other promotions will make their offers, but I think the desire to compete against the very best will bring Michael Chandler to the UFC.

 

UFC’s Jon Jones: “Soon, I’ll be considered the baddest man on the planet”

UFC, Jon Jones

At UFC 252, we saw Stipe Miocic (20-3) cement his legacy as the greatest heavyweight in history with his second victory over Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC). However, moments after the fight ended, perhaps the greatest fighter of all time was calling him out.

UFC Champion vs Champion?

The current UFC light heavyweight champion has long been considered the greatest fighter of all time. Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) has also been teasing a move to heavyweight for a long time. Earlier this year, a contract dispute broke out after he tried to fight Francis Ngannou.

It’s clear that Jones is wanting a big fight that motivates him. There would be no motivation needed if he were to fight the greatest heavyweight in UFC history in Stipe Miocic.

Miocic just came off of a grueling win over Cormier. It was an absolute battle, but Miocic proved how tough and how good he is in the conclusion of their trilogy. Stipe has only lost one fight in five years and that was the first fight to Cormier.

Outside of that, the champion has been dominant. We don’t know what is next for the champ. There were rumors of retirement, but Miocic put those to bed this week. Francis Ngannou (15-3) is waiting and wants his rematch. Ngannou deserves to be next.

However, a fight with Jones and Miocic would be massive for the UFC. The greatest heavyweight of all time going against the greatest fighter of all time sells itself. I’m not sure what the promotion does with either guy next, but it’s clear that Jones is wanting to move up sooner rather than later.