Though UFC president Dana White is ready to book a third Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier fight, and Cormier is putting off his retirement for the bout, it is unlikely to happen in 2019.
White last week stated that Miocic vs. Cormier 3 was in the works and would be the next UFC heavyweight title fight. A few days later, Cormier did an interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, saying that, “no one else matters.”
The only hold-up appears to be Miocic’s health. The champion told ESPN on Wednesday, “I’ll be ready to fight when I can see out of both eyes again. I can’t wait to defend my belt.”
Miocic was referencing an eye injury he suffered during his UFC 241 headlining bout with Cormier in which he won back the UFC heavyweight title. He also suffered the injury from an accidental eye poke.
“Mr. Miocic sustained a major retina injury from multiple eye pokes during his bout at UFC 241,” Miocic’s agent, Jim Walter of Kaulig Sports and Entertainment, told ESPN. “Our client’s health and safety is our top priority. We are excited for him to return to action when he is healthy compete in his seventh consecutive world title fight.”
Walter went on to explain that Miocic’s eye is set to be reevaluated in three weeks to determine whether or not he will need another procedure to repair the injury. Even if Miocic is cleared, he will first return to non-contact training before being allowed to step up to full contact.
Even if Miocic is cleared to begin his return to training in three weeks, that makes a timeline for a return this year difficult to imagine.
The only event left in 2019 which could host a bout such as Miocic vs. Cormier 3 would be UFC 245, which is scheduled for Dec. 14 in Las Vegas. Giving the necessary medical clearance and a typical eight-week fight camp, that puts Miocic right on the borderline of even considering a return at UFC 245.