UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier could be kicking off the final year of his career when he faces Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220 on Jan. 20 in Boston.
Cormier is 38 years of age – less than a year-and-a-half away from his 40th birthday – and nearing the end of his storied career. Though he recently admitted that a return to heavyweight, particularly for a title fight, would be tempting, Cormier has long had a plan in place and that plan does not include fighting into his fourth decade on this planet.
“I’ve been pretty vocal about it, that you’ll never see me at 40,” Cormier told ESPN recently. “We may be going into my last year in 2018. And I’m completely at peace with that.”
Cormier initially lost the light heavyweight belt to Jon Jones at UFC 214, but had it handed back to him after Jones again tested positive to a prohibited substance, which disqualified him.
Having previously lost to Jones, that’s certainly a fight that Cormier would like to run back and get a win in the Octagon. With Jones facing the likelihood of a lengthy suspension, Cormier isn’t inclined to wait around and find out if a third bout would ever happen.
He has someone that takes much higher priority in his life than does Jones.
“It’s time for this dude [nods at his son, Daniel Jr.] to take precedent in terms of sports,” Cormier continued with ESPN. “I’ve been doing high-level sports since I was 15. I can’t do it forever. I’m ready to give the commitment and focus to my boy, after a few fights. I’ve got a couple [fights] left in me.”
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The next will, of course, be Oezdemir at UFC 220, but then, who knows? Depending upon how soon his good friend Cain Velasquez will take to return to the Octagon, maybe Cormier will take that return trip to heavyweight and try to become one of the rarified few to hold UFC titles in two divisions.
(Video courtesy of ESPN)