ofDaniel Cormier came up short in his 2019 rematch with Stipe Miocic, surrendering the UFC heavyweight title in the process. According to his long-time coach Javier Mendez, however, he wasn’t fighting at full capacity.
Mendez revealed that Cormier wasn’t at 100 percent in a recent interview with MMA Junkie.
“Well, you know, we all make excuses, we all say this and that, and I’m good at making excuses, too, you know, because I’ve done it,” Mendez said, looking back on the Cormier vs. Miocic rematch. “But the bottom line is I like to tell the truth. It does come out as an excuse, but Daniel just did have surgery not too long after that fight. He was not 100 percent going in.
“He was good. He was ready for the title bout, don’t get me wrong, but he wasn’t the same as he was the first fight, straight up. And I know it doesn’t sound good to say that, but I’ll take the heat. It’s fine, blast away, I’m fine with that. It’s the truth, though.”
While Mendez was adamant that Cormier wasn’t at his best in the rematch, he was careful not to take anything away from Miocic.
“Stipe won fair and square,” Mendez said of the champ’s win over Cormier. “He hit beautiful body shots. He recovered. He was losing all the rounds; he recovered fantastic. I mean, hey, if I’ve got to say anything, man, props to him.”
With the outcome of their rematch, Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier are now tied 1-1, as Cormier won the pair’s first fight by first-round knockout. The expectation is that they will meet in a tie-breaking trilogy fight, with the heavyweight title on the line, in the near future.
According to Mendez, Cormier will retire if that rematch doesn’t materialize.
“He’s set on Stipe,” Mendez said of Cormier. “And if he doesn’t get Stipe, then that will probably be it. So that would be in the best interest of the UFC, if they want to save one marquee fight, which is a great trilogy – one of the best trilogies they’ve had.
“So they’re both 1-1, so it’s a great trilogy fight in the heavyweight division. I think the UFC is very smart, and I would believe and I’m 100 percent thinking they’re going to say that’s the fight to make.”
Who do you think will come out on top if Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic fight for a third time?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/21/2020.