Stipe Miocic Ruled Out Of 2019 Trilogy Clash With Daniel Cormier Due To Eye Injury
By Ross Markey
Reigning UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic has been ruled out of a potential UFC 245 headlining rubber-match with Daniel Cormier, and in fact, any bout for the remainder of 2019, after suffering an eye injury.
The Cleveland native recaptured his world championship via a fourth round stoppage of Cormier at UFC 241 last month, and despite the promotion’s plans to make the trilogy bout, an eye poke in the pair’s rematch required a procedure on his retina, and scuppered any such matchup this year.
Speaking with ESPN staff writer Brett Okamoto, Stipe confirmed his hiatus until 2020.
“I’ll be ready to fight when I can see out of both eyes again. I can’t wait to fight again.”
Miocic’s agent, Jim Walter released a statement recently, confirmed how his client under went a procedure after Cormier accidentally poked Miocic in the eye during their August 17th. clash.
In both fights, Cormier was warned by each referee about outstretched fingers, a style he has implemented in recent Octagon walks to gauge distance.
“Mr. Miocic sustained a major retina injury from multiple eye pokes during his bout at UFC 241. Our client’s health and safety is our top priority. We are excited for him to return to action when he is healthy to compete in his seventh consecutive title fight.”
Miocic’s premier championship reign came via a 2016 stoppage of Brazil’s Fabricio Werdum. Setting the record for consecutive successful title defenses in the division, Miocic went on to topple decorated striker Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos in a rematch, and handed Cameroonian bruiser Francis Ngannou his premier Octagon defeat. A loss to then light heavyweight champion Cormier ended his reign, before he reclaimed the throne last month.
With the score between Miocic and Cormier tied one apiece, UFC President Dana White confirmed with Barstool Sports recently, of the organization’s hope to finalise the trilogy bout.
“Stipe is recovering from that fight. He’s got some bumps and bangs from that fight. We’re waiting for him to heal and then yeah, we’re going to do the trilogy.”
American Kickboxing Academy mainstay Cormier spoke with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on ‘The Helwani Show’ on Monday afternoon, ruling out a trilogy with current light heavyweight best and fierce rival Jon Jones, in favor of a clash with two-time heavyweight best Miocic instead.
“I’ll go fight him (Miocic) again, win or lose, I’m not fighting again. This will the only time I will step foot into the Octagon again.”
UFC 245 currently features two title clashes, with the promotion keen on adding a third. It was widely believed Miocic vs. Cormier III was a possibility for the pay-per-view curtain closer of the year, adding to a bantamweight rematch between Amanda Nunes and Germaine de Randamie, and a featherweight meeting of Max Holloway and Australia’s Alexander Volkanovski.
Another possible title matchup for UFC 245 is a welterweight meeting of fierce-foes Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington if both parties can agree terms after a botched November date.