Some fights simply have to happen. From dream bookings like Jorge Masvidal versus Conor McGregor to bouts that make 100% sense like Francis Ngannou against Jairzinho Rozenstruik, sometimes the job of UFC matchmaker is fairly easy as all the pieces fall into place.
Count the third fight between UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight king Daniel Cormier among them. One win apiece, two exciting, captivating fighters – the rubber match to determine the better of the two has to be made.
But the Miocic camp doesn’t seem to agree.
On Friday, Miocic’s agent Jim Walter indicated that there isn’t a date set for the Ohio native’s return to defend his belt due to an eye injury picked up against Cormier. Walter also suggested that Cormier isn’t exactly in their plans for when that time comes.
“After his health is cleared, we hope to have Stipe back in competition this year in a fight that makes sense and against an opponent that Stipe has not beaten before,” Walter told ESPN.
“He is more than wiling to defend his belt. If an opportunity presents itself outside the UFC, Tyson Fury and Stipe spoke face-to-face in Las Vegas at the Conor McGregor fight.”
It’s not the first time Stipe Miocic and his team have flirted with the idea of competing in a boxing ring. He called out Anthony Joshua on multiple occasions before turning his attention to the aforementioned Tyson Fury more recently.
Miocic is a former Golden Gloves boxing champion, but you would be hard-pressed to see many people in MMA itching to see him swap his four-ounce gloves for a bigger pair.
Unsurprisingly, Cormier isn’t fond of that idea either.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 26, 2020
“Stipe and I are going to fight next. That’s exactly what’s supposed to happen. It’s what’s gonna happen,” Cormier said on ESPN following UFC Raleigh. “I know they’re saying they want something new — well hell, I wanted something new after I beat him and I gave him a rematch.
“So it’s only right to do the right thing. You’re honorable, right Stipe? You’re a fireman, you save lives. You do the right thing all the time, right? Do the right thing and give me my rematch.” [H/T Sherdog].
This could be a bit of gamesmanship from Miocic. He publicly campaigned for a rematch after dropping his title to Cormier at UFC 226. Cormier played hardball, holding out for a fight with Brock Lesnar which never materialised.
After waiting a year, and seeing Cormier defeat Derrick Lewis in the meantime, Miocic got his chance to run it back and scored a stunning fourth-round TKO win to reclaim his UFC heavyweight title.