It’s been awhile since we’ve seen UFC heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier in the cage — since he defeated Derrick Lewis by submission at UFC 230 in November, to be exact.
The champ’s prolonged absence is due to a back injury he sustained in that fight.
“I f—ked my back up at UFC 230. It hasn’t recovered as fast as I hoped it would,” Cormier told MMA Weekly.
“I have to take some time off. I had to take some time to try and make myself healthy because my schedule was so heavy last year. Three fights, three five round training camps, very heavy training camps. Last year was three championship fights, I did ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, I did all my commentary duties, I took that high school wrestling job in the middle of the year. It’s just a heavy, heavy year and I just need some time to get myself back in order.”
“You think you’re better but then you’re not and when you’re not better, you’re really not better. You feel fine but when it goes out you’re on the floor crawling. It’s a weird thing.”
Daniel Cormier added that he experienced similar troubles in 2015 — another one of the busier years of his career.
“The last time I fought like that was in 2015 when I fought (Jon) Jones, I fought ‘Rumble’ (Anthony Johnson) and I fought (Alexander) Gustafsson. I didn’t fight again until the next July. I had to take nine months to try and get myself reset,” Cormier said. “Last year, I had that kind of schedule, too.”
Whatever the case, the champ’s health issues are severe enough that he can’t commit to a timeframe for his return just yet.
“Once I heal up, I can start looking forward to what’s next but right now it’s just handle these injuries. Just get better,” he said.
“I’m just waiting. I’m just waiting and when I feel better we’ll talk. Me and the UFC will talk when I get better and we’ll decide on a date and then we’ll go forward with a fight.”
Daniel Cormier initially planned to retire in March. Thanks to this injury, and the plethora of big ticket matchups still available to him, however, those plans are most likely going to be delayed.
Who do you want to see the champ fight when he’s healthy?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/11/2019.