UFC President Dana White has provided an update on what will happen if the heavyweight title becomes vacant in the coming weeks.
The heavyweight division will take centre stage at UFC 252 on Saturday night, as the division’s reigning champion Stipe Miocic looks to settle his rivalry with the former champion Daniel Cormier, who has plans to retire post-fight.
Ahead of this heavyweight title fight, there’s been much speculation as what will come next in terms of title shots. Things could get particularly interesting if Cormier wins the title, and then retires, as the promotion would need to crown a new champion in his absence.
Speaking to The Schmo ahead of UFC 252, White divulged that, if the heavyweight title becomes vacant due to Cormier’s retirement, Miocic would likely be involved in the next title fight on the calendar.
“It would be hard to deny Stipe,” White said (h/t MMA Fighting). “We’re saying that this Saturday, the greatest heavyweight ever is the winner of this fight, so to say he’s not good enough for another title fight for the vacant title would be crazy.”
As for the other half of a potential fight for the vacant title, it sounds like Miocic’s former foe Francis Ngannou would most likely get the call.
“Francis is next in line,” White said. “Again, we’ll see what happens on Saturday and then yeah, Francis is the guy.”
As we know, of course, White has some serious doubts that Cormier will stick to his retirement plans.
“No, it’s not (Cormier’s last fight),” White told ESPN this week. “No, it’s not. It’s obviously going to depend on how the fight plays out on Saturday night. If Cormier wins in spectacular fashion, this will not be his last fight. And knowing him the way that I do, if he loses, then it will be, ‘I can’t go out like this.’
“You know me: When people start talk about retiring, I think they should. Stipe, who people were saying is probably going to retire after this, too, but he squashed that tonight, I don’t think either one of them should retire. They’re two of the best in the world, and they still have a lot left in them. But we’ll see. We’ll see how the fight goes on Saturday.”
Are you with Dana White on this one? Does a Francis Ngannou vs. Stipe Miocic rematch make sense if Daniel Cormier wins the heavyweight title and retires?