Morning Report: Daniel Cormier on potential Francis Ngannou fight: ‘It’s not a fight that I would have much hesitation in taking’

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With UFC 239 and International Fight Week now in the books, all the eyes in the MMA world turn to the rest of the summer fight schedule, and the biggest fight on the horizon is the rematch between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title at UFC 241. Cormier, of course, was supposed to face Brock Lesnar but when Lesnar retired from MMA, that put a hitch in his giddy up so now he’s rematching Miocic. And though the fight is less lucrative than a Lesnar bout, Cormier says it does have its own benefits, especially since this may be Cormier’s final fight before retiring himself.

“This is a guy that defended the heavyweight title more than anyone in history and if I can beat him twice, that just further cements my legacy in the sport,” Cormier told Aaron Bronsteter over the weekend. “As I’ve said for a long time, legacy matters to me and everything right now is just me building on that.

“This could be it. This could be my last fight. Money could convince me to fight longer [laughs] but this could be it for me.”

Cormier has been threatening to retire for some time now. He initially set a hard date for March but a back injury caused him to push back his plans for at least one more fight. However, should he get past Miocic, there’s another fight down the line that already has fans buzzing, a bout with heavyweight destroyer Francis Ngannou.

Ngannou has been on a tear recently, knocking out Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, and Junior dos Santos in a combined 2 minutes and 22 seconds. Ngannou’s run has everyone talking about his next shot at the title, ostensibly against the winner of Cormier and Miocic. But as great as his recent run has been, Cormier says he wouldn’t hesitate to take that fight.

“I think he’s a great guy,” Cormier said. “I like Francis, he’s very respectful. But I think everybody now has to take a step back because nothing has changed. This is the same thing that we saw prior to his title fight. Just remember that. You guys have to slow down. You get excited and you fall in love with these knockouts but nothing has changed. He did that to Overeem to earn a title fight. He knocked out all those guys prior. Nothing has changed. So as much as I respect him, it’s not a fight that I would have much hesitation in taking.”

Of course, Cormier has a fair amount of experience taking on terrifying power punchers. He twice fought Anthony Johnson, submitting him in the third and second rounds respectively, and Ngannou would present many of the same challenges as Johnson. And based on Ngannou’s failed title bid against Miocic, Cormier thinks it would be pretty easy to replicate his own victory.

“Nothing’s changed,” Cormier said. “He beat Cain in 25 seconds – which is crazy to me – he beat Junior in a minute and 5 seconds – which is crazy to me – and he beat Curtis Blaydes in about a minute. So he’s fought three minutes total. What happens at minute seven and minute eight and minute nine and minute 10 when a guy’s just dragging on him and grinding on him and making all that muscle blow up? That’s a big guy. Everybody loves the physical guy, the big, strong, bulging muscles, but at the end of the day, oxygen has to pass through that and when you start to wear at that, those guys get tired and I think Francis would have to have made some wholesale changes to change everything and I’m not exactly sure what we’ve seen recently to prove that anything has changed.”

There’s also one other fight for Cormier that has fans talking, the same fight it always is: Jon Jones. Over the weekend, Jones won a very narrow decision over Thiago Santos and afterwards, he mentioned an interest in possibly facing the winner of Cormier-Miocic. But while Cormier would be content to end his career with one more crack at Jones, he is adamant that it has to be at light heavyweight.

“It would have to be at 205 [pounds],” Cormier said. “I’ve overcome odds my whole life. From wrestling to some of the personal things I’ve been to, to going up to fight Stipe Miocic. He goes up to heavyweight and fights me, it’s the first time he’s ever fought at heavyweight. Me going up to heavyweight last year was different. I was 13-0 already there. I don’t want to stack the odds. I’d like to try and go down and win on the playing field that I lost at.”

First things first though, Cormier has to beat Miocic a second time. They fight in the main event of UFC 241 on August 17 in Anaheim, CA.


Results. Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes retained their titles at UFC 239.

Altercation. Dana White: Khabib Nurmagomedov, Nate Diaz got into altercation during UFC 239.

Interested. Jon Jones would ‘absolutely’ be interested in facing Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic winner.

Surgery. Thiago Santos had right knee surgery before UFC 239 fight with Jon Jones.

Buffet. Jorge Masvidal details five-second knockout of Ben Askren at UFC 239.

Earthquake. Earthquake rolls through Las Vegas during Rashad Evans’ UFC Hall of Fame induction speech.


UFC 239 post-fight show.

Post-fight presser live stream.

Hendo skit from the World MMA Awards.

Free fight.

911 call from BJ’s alleged strip club fight.

Masvidal KO.


6th Round. Immediate post-fight reaction to UFC 239.

Severe MMA. Breaking down all the action from UFC 239.


Khabib’s father saying they want to fight Nate next.

Jon.

Askren.

Masvidal.

Respect.

Less respect.

Solidarity.

Izzy’s live reaction to the Masvidal KO is great.

Corey Anderson still campaigning.

Truth.

Maybe so.

Lol.


Edson Barboza (20-7) vs. Paul Felder (16-4); UFC 242, Sept. 7.

Robert Whittaker (20-4) vs. Israel Adesanya (17-0); UFC 243, Oct. 5.


2006: Tim Sylvia retain his heavyweight title with a unanimous decision win over Andrei Arlovski in their trilogy bout at UFC 61.

2016: Joanna Jedrzejczyk successfully defended her strawweight title, winning a unanimous decision in her rematch with Claudia Gadelha at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale.

2017: Robert Whittaker won a hard-fought unanimous decision over Yoel Romero to claim the interim middleweight title at UFC 213.


With Jones’ overly cautious approach against a man who had one leg, I now strongly regret that we didn’t get Jones vs. Rumble. If he was too afraid of getting caught by Thiago Santos to do anything, Jon may stayed 10 feet away from Rumble at all times.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


Poll

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    Jon Jones

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  • 36%

    Thiago Santos

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