Daniel Cormier sets hard date in 2019 for retirement from MMA

Though he started MMA late in his athletic life, Daniel Cormier has already cemented himself as an all-time great in the fight game. And now his run could soon be at its end.

Come March, I will have 12 months, at max, left, Cormier said Monday on The MMA hour. Im going to be done by March 20, 2019. I wont be fighting again.

Cormier, 38, defended his UFC light heavyweight title this past weekend in Boston with a dominant second-round stoppage of Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220.

The win arrived just two months before Cormiers 39th birthday, which DC will celebrate on March 20. And with year four of his UFC light heavyweight title reign approaching, and his legacy secure as one of the greatest light heavyweights to ever compete in MMA, Cormier is beginning to ready himself for the next chapter of his life.

Im done, Im going to done at 40, Cormier said. I wont be back. There wont be jumping around or Im done until I get the right type of fight. Itll be over. Im not going to be doing this anymore. Ive said time and time again that Ive lived a great life in sports, Ive loved every moment of it. My family has revolved around sports. Not only my family, Selena and the kids, but also my mom and my dad. Ive been the center of the athletic universe for my family for a really, really long time, and its time for that to be little Daniel and Marquita. Its time for them to be the center of our athletic competition, and I just want to be one of those crazy dads that gets to yell on the sideline and just go crazy and brag about his kids.

Like, Yeah, my kid won this tournament, my kid won this gymnastics competition. That stuff excites me, man. Ive always wanted that, and Ive had my time. Since I was 15 years old, Ive been wrestling international competitions and going to the Olympics and the NCAA championships, and fighting in Strikeforce, UFC, so Ive had my time. Ive lived a lifetime in the spotlight. Its okay, I can be done with it when Im 40 years old.

Cormier declined to say what the impending end to his run would mean for the 14 months he has left of his fight career. He is currently awaiting word on a thumb injury he suffered midway through his win over Oezdemir he was on his way to the doctor to get an MRI during his appearance Monday on The MMA Hour. Much of his decision about his next step could depend on the severity of that injury.

But regardless of what happens, Cormier knows one path his final chapter in MMA wont venture down. After UFC 220, UFC president Dana White voiced a desire to see Cormier move back up to heavyweight and challenge record-breaking heavyweight titleholder Stipe Miocic in a champion vs. champion superfight. And for Cormier whose teammate and friend, Cain Velasquez, is also readying for a heavyweight title run in 2018 going back up in weight simply isnt an option Cormier wants to explore.

Ive talked about this time and time again and people keep asking. Look at the size difference between me and these dudes, Cormier said.

They just want to see me fight these big guys. So, thats not on my radar right now, you know? Im just going to try to figure out whats going on with my hand and see whats next. Its not like Im fighting small guys. Alexander Gustafsson could be a heavyweight, so its not like fighting at heavyweight is the only way to fight big guys. I mean, Gus is a big guy. So yeah, Im just going to hang out right now and see whats next, and see who presents themselves as the next challenge.

Instead, Cormier simply hopes to enjoy the small window of time he left has in the sport.

While Cormier would obviously love another rematch with his rival, Jon Jones, he vowed that he is done focusing on things outside of his control. With Jones potentially starting down the barrel of another long USADA suspension, Cormier just wants to live in the moment throughout his final year in the sport, taking in the sights and sounds of a great career that is coming to a close, rather than plan out a perfect ending hed have to stress over fulfilling.

I dont really have a perfect scenario, because if I start to think, Well, itd be great if I beat Gustafsson in July and then beat Jones in December, now its about them. Its not about them anymore. Its about me. Its my story, Cormier said.

I dont care who I fight over the course of this next 14 months. Its going to be whos deserving. My legacy, my career, is not tied to beating Alexander more convincingly this time, or finally beating Jon Jones. It doesnt matter to me anymore. Its about me and what Im doing. At the end of the day, I have to be okay with my career when its said and done, and my career is good with me when its said and done whether I beat Jones or if I have to beat Gustafsson or if I never face him. Im fine with everything.

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