Daniel Cormier: Retiring on top puts me in same league as Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning

Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier will compete in the final fight of his illustrious MMA career at UFC 252 this weekend, as he seeks to reclaim the UFC heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic.

If Cormier takes back his seat on the heavyweight throne and retires from that lofty vantage point, he believes it will put him in the same league as other sports legends such as Michael Jordan and Peyton Manning, who also made all-time great exits from their respective sports.

“In mixed martial arts, yes — but then it can put you right alongside the greatest sports athletes of all time,” Cormier said Thursday at the UFC 252 pre-fight news conference (via MMA Junkie). “Michael Jordan won with the Bulls when they beat the Jazz. Unfortunately he came back; I won’t come back. Peyton Manning won a Super Bowl in his last season. It would put me in that type of sphere with the greatest athletes that have ever competed across any sport. So, when I win on Saturday, I will retire in that way.”

While Cormier hopes to ride off into the sunset with a heavyweight title win over Miocic, he recognizes that nothing is guaranteed in a sport as merciless and unpredictable as MMA.

That being said, he believes he has the willpower to stick to his retirement plans even if he comes up short against Miocic.

“I’m a guy with a big ego, and that would suck,” Cormier said. “I’ve got to be honest. To think there would be two guys in my career that were just better than me, and I had multiple chances to beat them, and I didn’t get it done … Yeah, it would suck.”

Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic have fought twice previously. They first met in 2018 when Cormier, then the light heavyweight champion, moved up to heavyweight division to challenge Miocic for the division’s ultimate prize. Cormier won that first contest by first-round knockout. After Cormier defended the heavyweight title against Derrick Lewis later that year, he and Miocic then fought again in 2019. That time around, Miocic evened the scored, weathering some early adversity to stop Cormier in the fourth round and reclaim the heavyweight title.

Who do you think will come out on top in the pair’s anticipated UFC 252 trilogy fight?