Even before Stipe Miocic stepped into the Octagon to battle Daniel Cormier, the UFC already had plans in place for the winner.
According to UFC president Dana White, an agenda was set up prior to UFC 226 that would see the winner of the main event that night then moving on to a showdown against former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar is making his return to the UFC after last fighting in 2016 and following his most recent campaign in WWE, which is reportedly coming to an end in August.
Cormier ultimately won the fight against Miocic with a first-round knockout, thus setting himself up for a match-up against Lesnar in early 2019 that will likely end up as one of the biggest events of the year.
Meanwhile, Miocic has been asking for a rematch against Cormier, considering he was the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history prior to their fight in July.
As much as he might believe he deserves it, White says that Miocic isn’t going to get his rematch, at least not right away.
White says Cormier will face Lesnar the same way Miocic would have ended up in that fight if he would have been successful in his efforts for a fourth straight title defense. Cormier won the fight and earned the right to face Lesnar next.
“I don’t know why Stipe always feels like we’re disrespecting him, which we’re not,” White explained when speaking to “UFC Unfiltered.” “We have a lot of respect for Stipe. I think he feels like it took him a very long time to get his title shot and he felt like it took longer than it should have. Every time I turn around, he feels disrespected. He’s anything but disrespected. Complete opposite. I don’t know.
“Obviously, you saw that we set up the fight with Cormier to fight Brock. That would have been Stipe, if Stipe won the fight. It’s no disrespect to Stipe, it’s just something that was in place before that fight even happened.”
While Miocic has been asking for the Cormier fight, the UFC has apparently already moved on by asking him to face former training partner Curtis Blaydes later this year.
It’s unclear if Miocic will even consider the fight after planning on taking a break following the bout against Cormier, as he celebrated the birth of his first child just recently.
Whether it’s this fight or another one, it certainly appears the UFC is resolute to move forward with Cormier vs. Lesnar, while Miocic continues to hope he can get another shot to regain the heavyweight title.