Dual UFC champion Daniel Cormier makes millions of dollars fighting opponents in the octagon. Even if he could make more millions in a boxing ring, he isn’t keen on putting himself at a disadvantage.
Cormier (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC), fresh off a dominant win over Derrick Lewis to retain his heavyweight title at UFC 230, is close to the end of his MMA career. But he has no plans to ape Conor McGregor with a stab at boxing.
“I mean, why would I want to go and fight these guys in a singular sport,” Cormier told MMAjunkie Radio on Monday. “I don’t want to go try to fight some dude in the sport that he’s best at. That’s like me asking Anthony Joshua to come and try to wrestle me or fight me in a mixed martial arts contest. He’d have no chance, just as I would have no chance (boxing) against Anthony Joshua.
“I don’t want to do that for nothing. I’m not going to do that for nothing.”
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If Cormier was to entertain the idea of a boxing match against Joshua, he said he wouldn’t be motivated by the millions he could make in the world of pay-per-view boxing. There maybe would be one scenario in which he’d take the chance.
“I am ultra-competitive,” Cormier said. “Why would I put myself in a situation where there’s a 99 percent chance that I’m going to lose? I’m not going out there to just lose. I want to win. And at the end of the day, I don’t think money is going to make me feel better about getting my ass kicked. I’m not doing that. I want to win. I like to win, and I just don’t know if that’s really possible.
“Now, I would do it if (Joshua) said, ‘OK, after we fight, I’ll fight you in the UFC.’ That’d be crazy. Then I’d be like, ‘OK, I’ll box you if you promise to fight me in the octagon later.’ I’d want my get-back, dawg. Let me get my get-back.”
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The UFC has tried before to entice Joshua (22-0 boxing) to sign a contract. But the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion has stayed true to his current promoter, Matchroom Boxing, and in July signed a new deal. He is set to defend his belts in April, possibly against Deontay Wilder.
Joshua previously has welcomed bouts against UFC stars Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou. He’s also drawn a formal callout from Stipe Miocic, who wanted a showdown before he ran into a right hand from Cormier and ceded the UFC heavyweight title in July.
So far, the lopsided meeting between McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) and Floyd Mayweather (50-0 boxing) remains the standard-bearer for modern crossovers. And the Irish star continues to wait for his chance to get revenge in the cage. Cormier’s teammate at American Kickboxing Academy, UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, is also trying to get things started with Mayweather in the wake of his UFC 229 win over McGregor.
Now, Cormier is approaching a retirement bout against returning ex-champ Brock Lesnar (5-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) that could put millions in his pocket. The financial incentives are one of the main reasons he took the matchup, though he expects Lesnar to put up a better fight than Lewis did.
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Meanwhile, Cormier’s greatest opponent, Jones, is a mere month away from returning to the sport after a second anti-doping violation. The second Jones steps into the octagon, Cormier will relinquish the light heavyweight belt to the winner of Jones’ rematch against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232. And if Cormier sticks with previous statements, there won’t be a third fight after a pair of losses accompanied by at least one asterisk for a failed drug test.
That’s one competition the two-division champ Cormier claims is over. But even if there’s a stumble against Lesnar, Cormier vows he won’t be tugged back into active duty. At some point, he reasons, he has to settle with all the results he’s gotten inside the cage.
“The reality is, you’re just going to be chasing that feeling,” Cormier said. “Win or lose, you’ll keep chasing that feeling that you once had. So I do feel like I could retire if I were to lose a fight. It is what it is, man. People win, people lose.
“As long as you’re OK with everything … I just said it last weekend: My history in this sport is secure. I’ve done what I done. So win or lose (vs. Lewis), I’m going to be fine. So I could’ve lost that fight and still felt OK. Luckily I didn’t, though.”
For complete coverage of UFC 230, check out the UFC Events section of the site.
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