It was a bit of a surprise when a superfight between UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and light heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier was announced during the UFC on FOX 27 weigh-in show on FS1.
The two will coach opposite one another on the 27th season of The Ultimate Fighter, where they will be in charge of 16 undefeated featherweight and lightweight fighters, before squaring off in the main event of UFC 226, this year’s cornerstone of the UFC’s annual International Fight Week in Las Vegas.
With Cormier recently confirming that he plans to retire by the time he’s 40, which he will be in March of 2019, most hailed it as a bold move by the promotion, and a welcome one.
Light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson, in particular, was not too thrilled about the match-up. Having come up just short in a split-decision loss to Cormier in their 2015 title fight and having fought just twice since because of injuries and other issues, Gustafsson was a little miffed that he will now be denied a shot at the belt for the better part of 2018.
“(Cormier) is fighting Stipe? Well, stop (running) and fight me!” Gustafsson wrote on his Instagram account. “Don’t even think about giving the fight to anyone else! I have been (quiet), had a tough time after my last fight (injury, etc.), but I’m next in line and the DC fight is mine! Come on, let’s have a another dance for the fans!”
He’s not the only fighter who had an interesting response to the news about the UFC 226 superfight. Cormier’s longtime teammate and training partner Cain Velasquez also responded, albeit in a bit more cryptic manner.
“Like always, I’m gonna be in the gym every day to help my brother (Daniel Cormier) become the next heavyweight champ at UFC 226,” Velasquez wrote on Twitter before adding, “Once he wins, things could get interesting.”
He concluded with the hash tag #GonnaGetMyBeltBack.
Like always, I'm gonna be in the gym everyday to help my brother @dc_mma become the next heavyweight champ at #UFC226. Once he wins, things could get interesting. #AndNew #WeAreAKA #GonnaGetMyBeltBack
— Cain Velasquez (@cainmma) January 27, 2018
The Miocic vs. Cormier superfight will be contested at heavyweight with Miocic’s UFC title on the line. It would certainly be interesting to see what turn the situation would take if Cormier, who won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix before coming to the UFC, became the next UFC heavyweight champion.
Would he and Velasquez step into the Octagon for what would surely be a blockbuster bout and a massive payday? Would he vacate the UFC heavyweight title and return to 205 pounds and fight the likes of Gustafsson? Or, would Cormier decide that he had achieved everything that was left for him and stroll off into the sunset?