The career of one of the greatest mixed martial arts fighters of all time has come to an end.
Cormier said at this point in his career, he’s interested in only title fights and doesn’t see one in his future.
“I’m not interested in fighting for anything but titles. I don’t imagine there’s going to be a title in the future, so that will be it for me,” Cormier said in his postfight interview on ESPN+. “I’ve had a long run. It’s been great. I just fought my last fight for a heavyweight championship. It was a pretty good fight.”
Coming into the bout, the former UFC double champion said it would be his final fight, though there was some doubt raised by his coach, Javier Mendez, and UFC president Dana White.
“No, it’s not,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto on Thursday when asked about this being Cormier’s final contest.
Cormier, 41, steps away as one of the best to ever compete. The former Olympic wrestler was only the second fighter to hold two UFC titles in different weight classes simultaneously — and the only fighter to ever defend one title while holding both.
He was a champion in every MMA organization in which he competed, including a victory in the star-studded Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix in 2012. Cormier, a Louisiana native who lives and trains in California, lost to only two men in his career: all-time greats Jon Jones and Miocic. Of 15 UFC fights, 10 have been for a title. Cormier is a surefire future UFC Hall of Fame selection.
Cormier (22-3) holds career victories over the likes of Miocic, Alexander Gustafsson, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, Dan Henderson and Anderson Silva. “DC” was long tied to his bitter rivalry with Jones. He wasn’t able to beat Jones in two tries — one was overturned to a no contest due to a positive drug test from Jones for a steroid — but stabilized the UFC’s light heavyweight division as champion with Jones out of action because of several outside-the-cage issues.
Cormier held the UFC light heavyweight title from 2015 to 2018. He separated himself from the Jones feud by moving up to heavyweight and knocking out Miocic to become a double champion at UFC 226 on July 7, 2018. Before that, only Conor McGregor held two UFC titles in different weight classes at the same time. Cormier then defended the heavyweight title by submitting Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 on Nov. 3, 2018 at Madison Square Garden. Cormier won the first ESPYS award for best MMA fighter in 2019.
Outside the Octagon, Cormier has been an ambassador for the sport. He is one of the UFC’s top broadcast analysts, hosts programs on ESPN and coaches the wrestling team at Gilroy (California) High School, sending 13 kids to college in the past two years. Cormier is also the team captain at the famed American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, California, which boasts such talents as future UFC Hall of Famers Khabib Nurmagomedov and Cain Velasquez.
“When I think of what I’m most proud of in my career, it’s just everything,” Cormier said in a recent interview with ESPN. “The fact that I’ve won a title in every organization I’ve ever fought in. It’s the fact that I was the second UFC double champion. It’s the fact that I trained kids in wrestling over that whole time that I fought, I always went back to practice and trained those kids. … It’s the fact that I was able to build my family, marry my loving wife [Salina] and have three children. And provide for them a life that I never thought imaginable.”
Before MMA, Cormier was a standout in amateur wrestling. He’s in the NJCAA Hall of Fame with two NJCAA national titles, was an NCAA national runner-up in 2001 at Oklahoma State and made two Olympic teams. In 2004, Cormier finished fourth in the 96-kilogram division at the Olympics, and in 2008 he withdrew from the Games because of health complications from a bad weight cut.
“I’m not a guy that thinks in certain terms,” Cormier said. “I think of the whole. For me, I’m so proud of the whole. I’d be so proud of the guy who walked into San Jose in 2009 uncertain and unsure because there wasn’t much value in my name after the Olympic Games. I thought to myself, I’m gonna do this MMA thing and I’m gonna try and be as good as I can be. And I believe that when I look back at that guy 11 years ago, I couldn’t have even dreamt this. This is above and beyond anything I could ever imagine.”