The life of a fighter is far from glamorous. Injuries are a big part of any athletic endeavor, but combat sports provide more than most. And the best in their field definitely aren’t immune to them either.
Current UFC heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier is now 40-years old as of March 20. However, his original plan was to be retired by this point. Instead, he’s preparing to rematch with the man he took the title from in July 2018, Stipe Miocic. The pair will meet again at UFC 241 on August 17.
With his last fight having come in November 2018 when he defended his title successfully by defeating Derrick Lewis via second-round submission (rear-naked choke), Cormier hasn’t fought since… but he has a good reason for that.
Generally a pretty active fighter/champion, Cormier revealed on Monday that he had to go under the knife recently.
“The reason I haven’t fought, and the reason I didn’t fight in March was because I had back surgery in December,” Cormier said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “When I was about to fight Derrick Lewis, and I was telling you guys all how I sneezed and how my back was so jacked I didn’t know what was going on… It was so bad that about a week later – two weeks later, I started having pain going down my hip. So I was like, ‘Yo, what’s going on with my hip?’ And I would travel, then right around Christmas, I went to Milwaukie for that last Fox show because I was like, ‘I have to do it, last time I’m gonna work for Fox…’ Even though my hip was botherin’ me.
“And then Cain [Velasquez] was gonna fight [Francis] Ngannou and I went in to try and help him, and I mean, I barely did anything. My back was bothering me so bad, the next morning I couldn’t even walk.
“I had a disc that was bulging out of my back and sitting on my sciatic nerve,” Cormier explained. “It was out two inches of the chamber that holds the disc in. Two inches the disc was out, I couldn’t even walk. Deron Winn actually had to carry me out of my house and into my truck to take me all around to see doctors because my wife was having to deal with my children. It was bad. I would have fought in March if I was healthy. I probably really shouldn’t have fought Derrick Lewis.”
For Cormier, his rematch with Miocic will be his second attempt to defend his heavyweight crown and his second fight since first defeating the former champion. Whereas for the Cleveland native in Miocic, he hasn’t competed since suffering defeat to Cormier.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/6/2019