UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier stated on numerous occasions in the last year that he would retire from fighting by his 40th birthday, which was on March 20. He has now opened up about the reasons that date is being postponed.
Cormier last competed inside the Octagon at UFC 230 where he defended his heavyweight belt against Derrick Lewis, winning via second-round submission. The fight was put together on less than a month’s notice for both fighters, and Cormier accepted the booking in spite of a pre-existing back injury which flared up during the fight.
In a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, “DC” revealed that the injury required surgery to repair.
“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. “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 [or] 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 Milwaukee for that last Fox show because I was like, ‘I have to do it, last time I’m going to work for Fox…’ Even though my hip was bothering me.”
Cormier described how the injury impeded his movement, leaving him unable to walk and needing to be carried out of his house to seek help.
“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.”
After considerable speculation that Cormier would face former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar, that matchup appears to have finally fallen through. The UFC recently announced that Cormier will defend his heavyweight belt in a rematch against Stipe Miocic, the man he defeated to win the title, at UFC 241 in Anaheim, California.