Daniel Cormier Interested In Vacant Title Matchup With Francis Ngannou
By Ross Markey
Former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight titleholder, Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier is in career limbo somewhat.
The Louisiana native is set to make one final Octagon walk this year, however, his rubber-match with current heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic continues to play out without conclusion.
Miocic has been suffering from eye injuries stemming from his first meeting with Cormier – where he lost the title in an opening-round knockout. The Cleveland born striker is also an active fireman and is acting admirably as a first responder during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A trilogy bout between Miocic and Cormier has been floated for this summer, however, UFC president, Dana White has explained how Miocic could “possibly” be stripped of the undisputed championship if he can’t make a summer date.
Cormier, 41, revealed during a post UFC 249 show with ESPN, how he’s interested in facing consensus number-one contender, Francis ‘The Predator’ Ngannou in a vacant title bout in the future. Cameroon knockout artist, Ngannou continued his surge toward a second title tilt under the promotional banner on Saturday night, handing Jairzinho Rozenstruik his premier professional loss, with a shocking twenty-second knockout win.
“If Stipe (Miocic) won’t fight, then Francis Ngannou has earned a title fight,” Cormier explained. “If somebody is fighting Francis Ngannou for the title, it’s going to be me. All respect in the world to Francis Ngannou, but I’m not afraid of anyone. I’ll fight anybody on any planet. I love Francis, I think he’s a sweetheart person. I would love to do my trilogy with Stipe Miocic, but if Stipe won’t fight, they’re going to take his belt just like Henry (Cejudo) gave up his belt and they’re going to make a fight between Francis and I for the belt. It’s as simple as that.”
Although a matchup with Ngannou may be his next outing – Cormier has revealed how he would rather see out his rivalry with Miocic, with both men winning against each other previously.
“I would rather fight the trilogy fight with Stipe Miocic,” Cormier said. “I think that for everything we have meant to each other with me winning one and him winning one. That would be great for me. But, if he doesn’t want to fight, I want to fight my last fight. I want to fight whoever. And, if it’s Francis Ngannou then I guess that’s who it’s going to be.”
With eleven knockout victories from his fifteen career triumphs, Ngannou is undeniably the scariest knockout artist on the promotion’s books today. For that reason, Cormier has made it clear he’s not interested in trading blow for blow with ‘The Predator’ – pointing to his wrestling heavy approach that aided in his success against Derrick Lewis in his one and only successful heavyweight title defence.
“It’s like a double-edged sword,” Cormier explained. “If I go and fight Francis Ngannou, the smart way to fight him is to go take him down over and over. I did that against Derrick Lewis and people gave me flack for it. ‘All he did was wrestle.’ I’m not going to stand up with him. I’m not going to go and stand up with Francis Ngannou. I’m telling you, I’m telling him. If you’re going to be upset about me taking him down over and over, that’s just what you’re going to have to deal with. I don’t want to get knocked out. That’s what’s going to happen if I stand there. If I stand there he would knock me out. I would probably wrestle him the whole time until I would submit him.”
In Ngannou’s premier title opportunity with the promotion, he tackled the aforementioned Miocic – who managed to take home a one-sided unanimous decision in January of 2018 – scoring six stifling takedowns on his way to a record-setting defence.