Daniel Cormier will aim to cement his legacy as the greatest heavyweight in history when he takes on former champion Stipe Miocic on Saturday night at UFC 241.
The pair previously met last year at UFC 226 when Miocic was, the undisputed champion and the man many believed was the greatest heavyweight in the promotion’s history as the only fighter to successfully defend the belt on three occasions. The 36-year-old holds notable wins over former champions including Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum and Junior dos Santos.
Cormier only needed one round to dispatch Miocic the first time around and the rematch has been a long time coming, especially for Miocic who has not fought since the loss and has been campaigning for a rematch.
While there isn’t any overt bad blood between Cormier and Miocic, the champion believes that his opponent doesn’t like him as a person, owing to their very different personalities.
Cormier was a guest recently on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show and said while he thinks Miocic respects his ability as a fighter, they are clearly not friends outside the cage (transcript via BloodyElbow.com):
“I think I annoy Stipe Miocic,” said Cormier.
“I think he’s a respectful guy, so he shakes my hand, says the right things, but I think at his core, he’s like, ‘I can’t stand this dude,’” Cormier continued. “We’re just too different. We’re so different from each other — I’m loud, I’m boisterous, I mess around all the time, I’m always cracking jokes, my group of friends are really loud, we’re a bit obnoxious at times. It’s not his style.”
Cormier believes Miocic's opinion of him all changed as a result of their time together on "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 27 last year before their title fight. “DC” said that spending that much time around each other and seeing their personalities up close everyday changed Miocic’s opinion of him:
“Going into 'The Ultimate Fighter' the first time, I think his idea of me may have been different than it was after the show was over, because we spent so much time together,” Cormier said. “You can have an idea of who someone is, and then when you’re around them too much, you’re like, ‘Oh man, I really don’t like this guy.’ In my idea Stipe didn’t change, but I’m sure after the show his idea of me changed quite a bit.”
Cormier said one thing that does annoy him about Miocic is the entitlement he showed in seeking an immediate rematch after their first fight.
“Him sitting out this whole time, I feel like he acted a little bit like a brat, like, ‘I should get a rematch,’” Cormier said. “I just thought he should’ve fought again. It kind of rubbed me the wrong way. But you know what? It worked. Now he gets the chance to fight for the title again.”
According to Cormier, at the end of the day he doesn't worry over whether Miocic likes him or not because they’ll go their separate ways after the fight on Saturday night anyway.
“I do get on his nerves, but whatever. I don’t care,” Cormier said. “Everybody don’t have to like you — what does it matter? Reality is, we have to fight. Once we’re done fighting, we don’t have to be friends. He’s got a great family, he’s got a life, and he can go live his, I can go live mine.
“So, yeah, there are things that we both dislike about each other. But at the end of the day, I’m not losing no sleep about Stipe Miocic not liking me.”