Aug 13, 2020
UFC Pre-fight Press Conference Transcript August 13: Stipe Miocic & Daniel Cormier
Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier held a UFC pre-fight press conference on August 13. Read the transcript here.
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Daniel Cormier: (00:09)
My expectations when I got into this point was to be the best. I dreamed of fighting in the UFC. I dreamed of headlining a UFC pay-per-view. I dreamed of getting the belt wrapped around my waist. I fought the absolute best the UFC has to offer and I won, and I won, and I won.
And that is it, Daniel Cormier defends his title tonight.
Daniel Cormier: (00:36)
I’ve long worked and talked about legacy and I felt like that night in July, my legacy was cemented.
Announcer 2: (00:39)
Never before has a UFC light heavyweight champion moved up to challenge the active heavyweight champion. Stipe Miocic trying to successfully defend this belt for a fourth time.
Speaker 1: (00:50)
No one’s ever done that before. He cemented his position as the greatest heavyweight ever. He beat Fabricio Werdum by knockout, he beat Junior Dosantos by knockout.
Daniel Cormier: (01:02)
Any career accomplishments, I gained the ultimate one at the ultimate time.
Oh, he hurt him. It’s settled. History. UFC history. Daniel Cormier is the UFC heavyweight champion. One of the greatest of all time, Daniel Cormier. Unprecedented, rarefied air. Stipe Miocic set a new standard for this division, and Daniel put all of that to bed tonight.
Stipe Miocic: (01:39)
I’m a two division champion, baby.
Stipe Miocic: (01:45)
Listen, he is a great fighter. I’m not going to take anything away from him, there’s no question. But, he got one. The moons, everything lined up perfect for that one. I’ve been hit way, way harder. He just … [inaudible 00:01:56]. You know, it’s like I said, he won the lottery. I know I’m a better fighter than him, and I know that I can win the fight, and I’m going to prove it.
The former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Stipe Miocic, making the walk here tonight.
Stipe Miocic: (02:09)
Sometimes you get knocked down, but you’ve got to get back up. You know, and take what’s yours.
Nice left to the body. Oh again, beautiful left hooks to the body Stipe’s landing. DC’s just dropping his hands and walking towards him. I mean, no respect.
Oh, now a right hand up top. Oh, DC in a lot of trouble. He is down. Stipe exacts his revenge. Miocic is getting the belt back.
Daniel Cormier: (02:43)
I talked about retiring at 40 years old for a long time, and I was very serious about it, but there’s unfinished business that I need to take care of. This is the last time I’m going to fight. I get an opportunity to go out on top. He’s the greatest UFC Heavyweight of all time, and we’re 1:1. This fight, it determines the greatest Heavyweight the UFC’s ever had. This fight’s for legacy. This fight’s for everything. I have to win this fight.
Stipe Miocic: (03:11)
I don’t care. I’m going to retire. It’s going to suck, the entire rest of your life, knowing you lost to me again. I’m going to go out there, I’m just going to do what I do. I’m knocking him out. I’m going to beat that ass, get that belt wrapped around my waist and walk out. Game over.
You hear [inaudible 00:03: 35], again.
Announcer 2: (03:42)
Wake up to the UFC 252 press conference inside the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Saturday night, the trilogy is settled to determine the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time. Introducing first, the former two division champion, entering his 10th UFC title fight. Here is one of the best fighters to ever grace a UFC octagon, Daniel Cormier.
Announcer 2: (04:16)
And his opponent, the UFC heavyweight champion, 13 career UFC wins, 15 pro knockouts. The baddest man on the planet. Looking for a second straight win over DC. Here is the reigning defending World Heavyweight Champion. Cleveland’s finest, Stipe Miocic.
What’s up, everybody? How are you? Thanks for coming today. We appreciate it. Who has the first question? Kevin?
This for both guys, I’ll start with Daniel though. The last time when you fought, the first time you fought Jon Jones, there was an open mic and we caught you saying some un-nice things. Has there been any of that with this guy when you were backstage? Any of that happening?
Daniel Cormier: (05:07)
No. Honestly, I haven’t seen him all week and this is the first time I’m seeing him. So there hasn’t been any of that. It’s good to see his face, you know, put a face in front of me, as we get ready for the fight. The only memory I’ve had, is of him winning the fight over me. So it was good to see his face again, with a couple of days to go before I get to punch him.
When you look at retiring, what will you miss most? You retired from wrestling before, and so you’ve been through this one more time. Will it be the camps and being with your teammates, or will it be the fights and being in the spotlight? What will it be that you’ll miss the most?
I mean, it’s a lot of it, you know, you miss that rush. You know, people talk about things that you miss when you’re retired. Walking through that curtain with 20,000 people, this is my 10th UFC title fight in a row, right? So there’s been a lot of full arenas, people yelling when I hit the curtain. You miss that, there’s no drug in the world like it, you know? The fans, the adulation, the camaraderie of the training camp, good thing I’ve got and made good friends over the course of my career that we’re going to continue to be together. But you miss all that. Man, that hitting the curtain, the competition, the camaraderie, there are a lot of things I’m going to miss, but I’ll still be around calling the fights and doing all kinds of other things, so it’ll be okay.
My last one for you, would you say that your victory over Stipe at UFC 226 is the highlight of your career to this point?
Daniel Cormier: (06:34)
Yes. It’s absolutely the highlight of my career because of everything that it entailed. Not only was it another championship win, but it was beating a guy like Stipe, also on the run that he was on. And in the way that I did it, and to become a UFC Double Champion was truly amazing, in a lifetime of accomplishments. I’ve had accomplishments since I was a young kid. That was the biggest one. And that will only be topped by Saturday night.
And Stipe, I wonder if from your standpoint, given what Daniel has accomplished in his career, if you feel like coming back after being knocked out in the first round was your biggest accomplishment?
Stipe Miocic: (07:10)
Yeah. It totally is. I mean, it didn’t look good on TV, but yeah. I mean, coming back from that and waiting a year to get it, and getting that belt back was everything. Like DC was saying, it was great to see his face again. You know, he actually looks nice. I like your suit, it looks good. Unfortunately, mine didn’t come in the mail. I’m kind of mad about that right now. But yeah, I’m super happy for everything happening from that. But now we got unfinished business, so …
And I guess, the rubber matches are always great, especially when you have to have two of the best of all time. But is it a little bit difficult knowing he’s going away, because he’s getting a lot of attention because he’s retiring. Does that bug you, or are you just happy to let him kind of get all, and do all the interviews and do all that, then?
Stipe Miocic: (07:53)
All good. He can take it all, man. It’s all good. I don’t mind it. Listen, good for him. And I’m just going to hang out in the back.
Stipe Miocic: (08:03)
Who’s got the next question?
Reporter 2: (08:08)
Stipe, you attributed a lot of Daniel’s success in the last fight to your slow start. How do you stop that from happening again?
Stipe Miocic: (08:15)
Don’t let it happen again. I mean … yeah, just, he’s got a great pace and he’s a great fighter and I let them dictate the beginning of the fight, which I can’t let that happen. I got to do what I do, and I plan on not letting that happen again.
Reporter 2: (08:29)
You’ve been thinking about this guy for almost like, three years at this point. What’s it like to finally know that you’re nearing the end of that?
Stipe Miocic: (08:36)
Thank God we’re done with this, you know? I mean, it’s been great, been fun, going on. Rubber match, but everyone wants a trilogy, but when it’s all said and done, it’s going to be over.
Reporter 2: (08:46)
When you guys started this, you were amicable, you even spoke about making sure he made the most money before your first fight. Has it become a personal rivalry, or is it just competitive?
Stipe Miocic: (08:55)
Well, I think it’s always personal, whoever you fight, because you know, they’re trying to do something, they’re trying to beat you. They’re trying to take something away from you. And I mean, I got no ill will towards the man. He’s going to have a good retirement, God bless him, and wish nothing but the best for him.
Reporter 2: (09:11)
And for Daniel, you made a big point last time of how the back pain sort of affected your training, I was wondering, how’s it been different this time round?
Daniel Cormier: (09:19)
You know, when we fought in July, I fought in November, I think, against Derek Lewis. And I fought Derek Lewis because I was having issues with my back, and I wasn’t going to fight this guy on three weeks notice. It wasn’t happening. So I fought Derek Lewis and then I hurt my back, ended up having back surgery in December. Well, when the fight was asked, if I was going to fight him again, this was May, right? So I’m six months out of back surgery trying to get into a professional fight camp. And so I made a lot of concessions. When things got tight, I stopped. When I felt like I was going to hurt myself, I stopped. And I believe that it showed in the fight. I’m not a guy that generally fatigues as I did. Granted, it was a high paced fight and he landed some good shots, but I got tired. And this time I’ve been able to train effectively because I was okay with knowing if I got hurt, I just wouldn’t fight. And when you can accept that, you can do everything you need to do.
Reporter 2: (10:16)
If you could put a percentage on it, how much better are you this time round?
Daniel Cormier: (10:21)
I mean, honestly, and it’s hard, right, when you ask that question, because it almost puts me in a position where I take something away from what Stipe did. He won the fight, he took the damage and he did what he had to do. But I feel much better. I feel much better today than I did last year. I mean, from the simplest things, right? Like from jumping outside and running across the levy in Gilroy, those are the things that I couldn’t do. Lifting weights. Those are the things that I couldn’t do before the last camp, because it just affected me physically too much, but I wanted to fight. And honestly, part of the reason was because I understood that the dude did deserve a rematch after doing all that he has done. But in hindsight, I probably would have waited a little bit.
Reporter 2: (11:04)
Last one for me, if you win on Saturday and walk away as the World Heavyweight Champion, is that the greatest exit we’ve seen in mixed martial arts to date?
Daniel Cormier: (11:11)
In mixed martial arts, yes. But then I think it puts you right alongside the greatest sports athletes of all time. Michael Jordan won with the Bulls when they beat the Jazz. Unfortunately, he came back. I won’t come back. Peyton Manning won a Super Bowl in his last season. It would put me in that type of sphere with some of the greatest athletes that have ever competed across any sports. So when I win on Saturday, I will retire in that way.
Jim Grieshaber: (11:39)
Hey guys, Jim Grieshaber, Cage Side Seat. DC, just to follow up on that, with all due respect, how important is it for you to go out on top, from the standpoint of not only getting the belt back, you talked about fighting your fight, but as you get set to retire, DC, all time, great light heavyweight, but Jon Jones. DC, all time great heavyweight, but Stipe. How much is it to avoid that sting of having that twice, with this fight?
Daniel Cormier: (12:02)
Well, that would be, I’m a guy-
Jim Grieshaber: (12:03)
To avoid that sting of having that twice with this fight?
Daniel Cormier: (12:03)
Well, that be … I’m a guy with a big ego and that would suck. I mean, I got to be honest, to think that there will be two guys in my career that were just better than me, and I had multiple chances to beat them and I didn’t get it done. Yeah, it would suck. But Dana didn’t just go, “Hey DC, I love you. You’re a great guy. Fight for all these championships.” I earned these opportunities.
Daniel Cormier: (12:29)
All these tough guys that I fight, again, 10 title fights in a row, that’s all earned. It’s not because they like me. These guys aren’t my friends to the point that they just give me championship fights. I train, I fight and I win. That’s why I continue to find myself in this position.
Daniel Cormier: (12:44)
But all of this pressure’s earned. The pressure of fighting a guy like Stipe Miocic, the pressure of fighting a guy like Jon Jones twice, when Jones beat me and he got in trouble, I beat everybody else until he got back, and then I beat everybody else again until I fought Stipe.
Daniel Cormier: (12:57)
All this shit’s earned man. This isn’t given. I think people need to recognize and realize that.
Jim Grieshaber: (13:02)
How important is it for you to be such a role model in your community, to be a high school coach, to have your own kids looking at you, to be over 40 years old and still at this level, and to be able to have the chance to ride off into the sunset with that belt and bring it back to Gilroy?
Daniel Cormier: (13:14)
It’s massive, because when I was growing up I didn’t have that many people to look up to in that way. When you can touch someone like me in the community, it means a lot. I love giving back. I love doing the things that are going to make an impact on people. It’s very important to me.
Jim Grieshaber: (13:34)
Stipe, for you. Champ, good to see you. You’re one-on-one obviously against Daniel. You have the belt. How important is that too? Obviously it’s why you’re there to get that second win over him and just prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re the greatest. Would you just expand on that for us?
Stipe Miocic: (13:47)
Yeah, of course. I mean, listen, we’re both competitors. We don’t want to lose. I mean, I like winning. Like I said, I train my butt off to be where I’m at and I’m not giving it up. I worked too hard to give it up. I put a lot of time in, and not just me, with my coaches. They get away from their families. Their families let them go away with me to these camps or go train somewhere. It’s not just me, it’s all of us.
Jim Grieshaber: (14:11)
We talk a lot about the UFC, be it at the forefront in the sports world. But you are really out on the front lines with COVID in Ohio, being a firefighter and doing your job there. You said, “Hey, I’ll fight later. This is my job now.” Can you reflect on that experience a little bit and how it gave you maybe more perspective as you head into another big fight?
Stipe Miocic: (14:25)
I mean, it’s crazy what’s going on right now. We’ve got a pandemic. But UFC, they’re doing everything they can they’re doing an amazing job. Being on the front line and I see a lot of it, head to toe covered in stuff just so we don’t get it ourselves or spread it. Listen, I wouldn’t mind fighting, but the problem was the whole state of Ohio was shut down. Hopefully the people understand that. We legit were shut down, so we really can do anything. But it was crazy, but just perspective. I just was scared to go home and give it to my daughter and my wife. That was the only scary thing about the whole situation, because I knew what I was doing.
Stipe Miocic: (15:00)
I knew I was putting my life on the line, helping [inaudible 00:00:15:03], which is fine. It’s why I signed up for it. But at the same time I was scared to going home and there’s always precaution when I get home, straight to the laundry room, threw the clothes in the wash, hop in the shower, best that I could. So far we’ve been lucky, knock on wood.
Jim Grieshaber: (15:16)
Last one for me, for Dana. Obviously you’ve been in that position for a ton of big fights. It’s always bigger when it’s the heavyweights, but you’ve talked about the winner of this one being the greatest of all time. Where does this fight rank in terms of the biggest fights that you’ve had in your career of the UFC?
It’s massive, and obviously the trilogy. I look at this fight like, everybody that I’ve been talking to, I’ve been doing media all week. I just got off an hour and 15 minute call with Rogan, who’s losing his mind. Me and Rogan geek out before these fights all the time, and this is one of those. I’d have to call this the best trilogy, especially because of the first two fights.
You don’t see heavyweights go at it the way that these two have in the first two fights and the result. Cormier catches him with that shot in the first fight and knocks him out. In the second fight Cormier comes out and was [lightened 00:16:10] Stipe up with some big shots, hurting him. He goes back to the corner and they make some adjustments. You see that shit in the movies and with really, really great fighters, where you go back and make a couple adjustments in the corner and come out and do what Stipe did in the second fight.
Both of these guys are super aggressive. They’re both incredible athletes that do the best ever. Saturday you find out who’s the best heavyweight of all time. It just, it doesn’t get any better than this. It’s the best.
Speaker 2: (16:45)
A question for both of you. I’ll have DC answer it first. But just piggybacking off of what Dana just said about how big of a trilogy fight this is. You guys were just waiting in there before you walked up on the podium. Did anything go through your mind looking at that octagon and knowing that it was going to be in an empty arena and that this big fight, and DC, your last fight is, I mean, obviously there’s nothing we can do about it, there’s a pandemic, but that’s where it’ll be taking place, and not an arena like you’re used to.
Daniel Cormier: (17:14)
I didn’t really think about it. Like I said, it was just good to see his face, put a face in front of me, being in the area of the guy. I’m not overthinking all this, like, “Oh, it’s a small octagon or it’s in front of no fans.” I just want to fight. I just want to fight. It’s been a year. I just want to fight. I’m excited to fight this guy. That’s the guy I want to fight. I’m excited that it’s finally about to happen.
Speaker 2: (17:43)
Stipe, anything go through your mind or did you talk about it with your coaches at all, just kind of sitting there next to that octagon?
Stipe Miocic: (17:48)
Yeah. It was probably the first time in my whole career where someone’s not going to tell me I suck or anything like that. It’s just going to be quiet. It’s just going to be kind of nice and I don’t mind that. Listen, I’m here to fight. That’s what I love to do.
Speaker 2: (17:59)
DC, I’ve seen you say that this is the most important fight, athletic event of your career. I mean, I can understand why. This is obviously a huge fight, but you have been NCAA, trying to get a title there. You had an opportunity to win an Olympic gold medal, rivalry with Jon Jones. Why can you confidently say that this is the biggest moment in your entire athletic career?
Daniel Cormier: (18:21)
Because look at where we are. This thing is going to be viewed by millions of people. When I was wrestling, granted we did this our whole lives, but not many people are checking in on the rest of the world whenever you’re trying to do that. The Olympic games, it felt good to represent our country. It was a lifetime accomplishment to be out there with USA across my back.
Daniel Cormier: (18:42)
I think athletically, this is the best of my career because I respect him for doing things the right way. There are a lot of things I respect about Stipe Miocic. My greatest rivalry in the history of the sport will be Jon Jones. It’s too big. I will never be able to escape what we had. We made so much money. We sold so many pay-per-views. We did so many things. It’s fine. But I respect him and I respect what he does athletically. That’s why this is the biggest fight. It’s for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. I know 205’s has been the UFC glamor division. No, it’s the heavyweights. It’s the baddest man on the planet. This guy beat me last time and that motivates you to do something special afterwards.
Speaker 2: (19:25)
I know you said this is your last fight, but how long do you think you could do this? If you were in a position where the UFC was like, ” Just defend the title once every year,” how long could you do it?
Daniel Cormier: (19:34)
That’s why it’s crazy, because before these guys used to call me, and this is partly why people say I have a great relationship with the UFC. They call me six weeks, “Would you fight Dan Henderson?” “Okay. I’ll fight Dan Henderson,” but I’m 35 at the time. I’m 36 years old. “Hey, you want to fight this guy oh, Patrick Cummins is coming last week. He worked at Starbucks. You’re going to fight Rashad Evans. Are you good this date?” “Yeah, sure. I’ll fight him. Whatever.”
Daniel Cormier: (19:56)
“DC, Jon Jones [inaudible 00:20:00], you’re going to fight Anderson Silva in two days.” “Okay, sure. I’ll fight him.” That’s why the relationship was built. But when they would call me five weeks and I’m 243 pounds and I can get to 205, that doesn’t happen anymore. I need 13, 14 weeks. The way I felt during this training camp, I understand that you just can’t extend it and extend it and extend it. Today, and on Saturday, I’m the best in the world. But what if I’m not after Saturday? Great champions always have one good night, and then they tempt fate. I’m not willing to do that.
Speaker 2: (20:33)
Then one for Stipe. You’ve done very well in rematches. You’ve had an opportunity to avenge two losses and you won by knockout in both cases. Do you think that you have an advantage? Does you and your team, do you think you have an advantage when there’s a familiarity there with you and your opponent?
Stipe Miocic: (20:49)
Yeah, I think so. I think there’s not [inaudible 00:20:51] did wrong in the last fight, last two fights. We just go off of that, watch the film, see what we did wrong and how to make yourself work on our weaknesses, just like his camp did, work on the weaknesses I have and work on this weakness to make them better. I mean, listen, [we have a fight set 00:09:05], I’ll tell you that right now. It’s going to be awesome.
Speaker 3: (21:11)
Stipe, I feel like there’s some rumors going around that this isn’t just DC’s last fight, but that you might feel like going out on top if you get the victory. Can you put that to bed how much you continue to keep fighting?
Stipe Miocic: (21:23)
I think about retirement after every fight since my first fight at UFC 136, I think about retirement.
Speaker 3: (21:29)
Do you think about it anymore lately?
Stipe Miocic: (21:31)
No. It’s the same old, I just, I love what I do. The minute I’m not having fun and it acts like a job, I’m out. But right now I’m good. I’m happy. I had a great camp, best to my ability, especially being quarantined and with this pandemic going on. But honestly, I feel great and we’ll see how long I can go. I’m about 40, God blessed DC, but I don’t know about that, but I mean a little bit longer.
Speaker 3: (21:53)
After Saturday night, you’re obviously going to be right up there. You know that there are guys, [Carmen 00:21:58] and [Ganu 00:21:58], Curtis Blaydes. I mean, are you excited to take on this new wave of contenders or is it more just when it’s time to clock in for work again, I will?
Stipe Miocic: (22:07)
Exactly. My focus is on Saturday. It’s all I care about. There’s a lot of good guys coming up and it’s great to see the division getting stronger. But right now Saturday’s is my main objective.
Speaker 3: (22:16)
Question for DC. We’ve been hearing about for years from Javier Mendez and Bob Cook, these legendary matches in the gym, you versus Cain, you’re training with Luke Rockhold. This is your last dance. Can one of you guys finally dropped those videos on YouTube?
Daniel Cormier: (22:31)
No, I don’t want you guys seeing me getting beat up all the time. Still to this day, Cain Velasquez is the toughest guy I’ve ever fought or trained with. He’s just really good. I believe that’s part of the reason I’ve been so prepared to do great things because I have great partners, but you will not see this barn footage because I don’t want people to watch me get beat all the time.
Daniel Cormier: (22:50)
I mean, I got three videos floating around the world of me losing right now, and that’s too much for me to deal with.
Speaker 3: (22:56)
Finally, when you came in at AKA, obviously they had the old guard with Josh Koscheck, Fitch and Swick, then it was the new guys, you, Cain, Rockhold, winning belts. What does it mean to you to have just continued that legacy at AKA? And now obviously it’s going to still keep going with Khabib.
Daniel Cormier: (23:14)
It’s great. It’s great. There have been a lot of camps that have been around for a really long time and Koscheck, Fitch, they all fought for titles, but then Cain, myself, Luke and Khabib now, we all took the next step. Seeing it so close allows people to realize the athletes in our gym, that it’s possible.
Daniel Cormier: (23:33)
We always talk about we were the kings of the American Kickboxing Academy. We all got to the top of the world. We all wore UFC championships. What gym can say that guys went in there with no skill outside of maybe wrestling and became champions? I mean his gym, but it’s only Stipe, not people that moved in. Khabib’s the closest one to moving in, and he might’ve had one UFC fight when he got here. He’s the most dominant champion in the world now. We’re very proud of our team and you know …
Daniel Cormier: (24:03)
… So, yeah, we’re very proud of our team and we’re extremely proud of Khabib.
Speaker 3: (24:06)
Final one for me, for Dana. You’ve had some pretty Epic heavyweight title fights over the years. Brock Lesnar and Cain was a big deal. Cain vs. JDS, the trilogy. What makes Stipe versus DC different?
Well, obviously the trilogy. The trilogy, the fact that the two of the greatest heavyweights ever, and Saturday will determine who is the greatest heavyweight of all time. I mean, it’s intriguing, it’s exciting. When you have a heavyweight champion and an adversary like these two have, it’s what everybody hopes for in the heavyweight division. Plus, when you have two guys like this, you don’t have one of those lazy, boring, sloppy heavyweight fights. These guys are in great … I mean, look at how lean Stipe looks for this fight, and look at the shape he’s in right now, and they’re talking about their ages.
When you see guys that are this age, still in professional sports and still at the top of their game, and in the shape that they’re both in right now. I mean, I don’t have to tell anybody in this room or anybody watching, what kind of a fight you can expect on Saturday night. These guys are action packed, lots of punches, lots of … These guys try to finish. It’s everything you could possibly want in a heavyweight championship fight. It’s perfect.
Kendrick Johnson: (25:27)
Over here, [Kendrick Johnson 00:00:25:28], MMA Power Hour. This question is for DC. With you being in Cain’s camp for the trilogy with JDS, for UFC 166, what did you learn that you can apply for this one, since this is the first one of your career?
Daniel Cormier: (25:40)
Well I was watching Cain train as the guy that won the second fight, right? And having to stay motivated to win the third fight, because in the second fight you understood that he found some weaknesses in Junior’s game, right? So I can kind of look at things from both sides. Whereas, I have the motivation of the guy that got beat. I can also try to think of what a champion feels like when he did find a weakness, when he did exploit a weakness, when he did capitalize on something. So I was able to look at it from both sides, and I took things from that camp, because Cain was the guy that won. So yeah, it was good. It was good. It really did help me.
Kendrick Johnson: (26:16)
With hindsight being 20/20, would you decide to stay at heavyweight, if you could go back and do it? Or [crosstalk 00:26:22] do what you did?
Daniel Cormier: (26:23)
No chance. Going at 205 allowed me to have the greatest rivalry, maybe in this sports’ history, and I would not give that up. I mean, I had some great fights at 205. I got to fight Rumble twice. I got the fight Alexander Gustafsson, and Dan Henderson, and Anderson Silva. And all these guys, I got to experience some great things at 205. I would not change it for the world. It was a great move at the time, and it’s still a great move looking back.
Kendrick Johnson: (26:49)
And you touched on it earlier about being a role model, and Gilroy, and all that good stuff. But nobody’s really touched on, how big a deal would it be for you to walk off with that belt, as an African American, in the times live in, in a sport that not too many African Americans watch, as that guy?
Daniel Cormier: (27:03)
It’s massive, and you know what’s been great for me, is that when I was fighting initially, the black community was one area that we wanted to really break into in mixed martial arts. And I would walk the streets, and people would say hi to me, but it wasn’t as many black people as I would have liked. I fought Jon Jones, and more people started to pay attention. But now I feel support from the black community, black athletes, actors, more than anything that I’ve ever felt.
Daniel Cormier: (27:32)
People are aware of the UFC now, and I’m happy that I’ve been a guy that they can relate to and want to support. I’ve gotten messages from so many guys from the NBA bubble during this fight camp, and over the course of this week. I’ve gotten messages from actresses and actors, as they prepare for the fight this weekend. People are taking notice. Now, and that’s was one area we wanted to kind of touch and break more into, and I feel like we’re finally doing that.
Kendrick Johnson: (27:59)
Now, of course this is for Stipe. We know the professional respect that y’all have for each other, and the big interview y’all did a couple years before you actually fought, and being in the ring with each other now three times. Is this simply about who is the better man?
Stipe Miocic: (28:13)
Yeah, yeah. Who’s the better man? I mean, listen, I guess I have … I wish him nothing the best, after his retirement. But listen, I’m here to win, and we’re both competitors, and we’re out there giving it all we got, but I’m walking out with that belt still wrapped around my waist.
Kendrick Johnson: (28:28)
Five questions for Dana. Whoever wins on Saturday, will they be on your Mount Rushmore permanently? Does this secure a spot on the Mount Rushmore of MMA guys, with all the guys and all the great fighters we’ve seen? Whoever wins this fight, would they bring that in your …
Yeah, it’s hard. When people ask me the Mount Rushmore, I always think about the older guys, because when you think about the Mount Rushmore, these guys from 100 years ago or more, but their place … Listen, Saturday night … And I’d said this before, this week, and I’ll say it again. I heard some … You get some of the goofballs out there that want to try to debate it. There is no debate. The winner of this fight is the greatest heavyweight, ever, in mixed martial arts, period. So yeah, these guys are going to end up on some Mount Rushmore, somewhere. Two future Hall of Famers, two of the best to ever do it, and the greatest heavyweight champion ever.
Speaker 4: (29:27)
For Daniel, you said you’re not overthinking this fight. If you were to simplify it, would it be taking Stipe down and keeping them there? Or is that sustainable, cardio wise, over potentially five rounds? Is it may be why you got tired after the first round in your last fight?
Daniel Cormier: (29:42)
Well I didn’t get tired after the first round, I got tired about the third round. Whenever I was starting to swing, and he was hitting me, and I was … It was just crazy. Now, the easiest path for me is to try to take him down and hold him down. When I got the take down the first time, I held him there for about three minutes, but it takes energy to do that. But I don’t want to just take him down. I want to fight him. I like punching him in the face. It’s fun. I enjoy it. His head kind of just stays there. So, I like punching him. So I’m going to punch him, I’m going to wrestle him and do everything.
Daniel Cormier: (30:11)
I think that everybody talks about, “Oh, you’re an Olympic level wrestler, just go take this dude down.” Dude knows how to wrestle. He knows how to wrestle. I felt it immediately when I grabbed his leg. I understand that he has the skills to defend take downs. He took me down. So, it’s not as simple as, I just go take him down. But I do believe that if I get to his legs, and I can extend the wrestling sequences, then I’ll come out on top. Because, I feel like I can do that against anyone. But, I just want to fight him. I don’t want to just wrestle him. I want to fight him, too.
Speaker 4: (30:42)
And Stipe, with the success you had going to Daniel’s body in the last fight, how quickly do you look to return to that? Or do you anticipate he’s anticipating that?
Stipe Miocic: (30:50)
I don’t know, we’ll see. I mean, I think one thing I’m going to do is, I guess, move my head. He said it stays in the same place. So, work on that by Saturday. But yeah, I mean listen, worked on a lot of thing this camp, and we’ll see what happens.
Speaker 4: (31:07)
Did you want to say something? I saw …
Daniel Cormier: (31:09)
He’s going to go back to the body. I mean, he would be an idiot not to, right? They had too much success there. But the reality of it is, when you make an adjustment like you guys did last time, you get to do that one time, because I go home and I fix that. And I work, and I work diligently to try to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Right? He’s still going to hit me, and he will land body shots. There’s no way I’m going to block everyone that he throws, or I’m going to counter every one that he throws. It’s a fight. He’s going to land. But it’s on me to be more prepared, and more ready to go as long as this fight goes. But yeah, he’s going back there. He’s not being coy. You could tell, he always smirks when he tries to say he’s not going to do it. Look at him, he can’t even help himself. He’s doing it right now [crosstalk 00:31:49].
Stipe Miocic: (31:49)
You’re like my wife [crosstalk 00:31:51].
Daniel Cormier: (31:49)
He smirks right away, as soon as you talk about the body shots. Well, why wouldn’t he? Of course, until I stop him from doing it.
Speaker 4: (31:57)
And then for both of you, who is the busier guy outside of the Octagon? Perhaps more distracted, I mean, you both have families, you have your firefighting duties, you are everywhere in the media. Who’s busier?
Daniel Cormier: (32:12)
You want to go first?
Stipe Miocic: (32:13)
No, you go.
Daniel Cormier: (32:15)
I think I overextend myself at times, and this camp I didn’t have to do that. Honestly, because the pandemic has honestly been a blessing for me, because this is the first time I had no wrestling, I called no fights. I was able to just stay home and train for the last 14 weeks. This doesn’t happen for me. Generally as a wrestling tournament, or I get out of practice at two o’clock and I’m at the wrestling room by 3:30 until seven, when I go to train again. So, those were things … Or appearances as the heavyweight champion, right? The ESPYS, and all these other things that I had to do.
Daniel Cormier: (32:48)
I did none of that this time. I stayed home and I trained, and my wife about killed me, because I was just a log. I would train, I would lay down and sleep, play video games, and I would train again. And she’s like, “Are you a college kid? When are you going to grow up?” I’m like, “No, I’m getting ready for the most important fight of my career.” And eventually she understood, and let me do my thing. So, this time there was no distractions. It was only Stipe Miocic.
Stipe Miocic: (33:10)
I mean, yeah, nothing changed for me. I’m pretty selfish as it is, so I was worried about myself, not my wife … I’m joking. I worked at the fire station. Nothing really changed though. I was actually pretty lucky. The city I work for, the citizens are really smart, kept to themselves, didn’t get overexposed. So we only had a few COVID calls, but yeah, I mean nothing really changed. Training at home, the one thing I did not want to do is train at home. That’s like my sanctuary. I wanted to not bring anything there, and unfortunately I had to. It is what it is, but my wife helped out. We had a great gym in the basement, and it was actually a blessing in disguise. I loved every second of it. I was able to get home in time, or before I wouldn’t be able to get home in time and see my daughter go to bed. Now that home training I was done, and I was able to see my daughter, put her to bed, and it was the best thing in the world.
Speaker 5: (34:02)
Daniel, in the back … Several fighters have remarked being able to make adjustments based off of hearing your commentary, since there is no fans in the arena. Who will be on the desk on Saturday, if you could ear hustle their commentary, would you listen to, to make your adjustments?
Daniel Cormier: (34:21)
I mean, I can’t even listen to my coaches when I’m in there fighting. So I don’t know how I would listen to a … It’s Rogan, Anik and Dominic Cruz. So, if you want to listen to anybody, listen to Dominick Cruz. He might be the smartest person on the planet, but I got to go fight. Those guys have their time to tell me what to do, and that’s in the minute in between rounds. I got to go out there and fight, and do what I’ve done on so many occasions. So, no I’m not going to listen to those guys. I’m just going to go fight my fight.
Speaker 5: (34:48)
And staying with the commentary, how do you feel that your time on the desk as a commentator has informed your work inside of the cage?
Daniel Cormier: (34:57)
Oh, it’s helped me tremendously, because I watch these guys and I learn from everyone. I learn from young kids, I learn from older fighters. I just learn from everybody. I try to pick up things from Stipe. I see the good things that he does, and I take from that. I see the good things that Jones does, and I try to take from that. I take things from everybody. And being a commentator, because I’m working these fights, I’ve called Stipe’s fights before. And I’ve had to watch him to prepare for the work, and that’s when I … The first fight, right? That’s where I saw how he would come out of the clinch, because I was watching him not competitively. I was watching him just as a guy, I was going to call his fight. So yeah, it helps. It helps, because you don’t look for the weaknesses, you look for everything and you respect the guy for their skills.
Speaker 5: (35:42)
How do you feel your work as a commentator has increased or impacted your value as a fighter?
Daniel Cormier: (35:50)
I mean, I think anything you can do to build your brand alongside the UFC helps your profile, and helps to build you as a fighter, and just helps you overall. So me being at the commentary desk for all of the biggest fights …
Daniel Cormier: (36:03)
… overall. So me being at the commentary desk for all the biggest fights, that’s massive for me. That’s massive for me in terms of recognition because when you see a Gilbert Burns go out there and dominate in the way that he did here, or me and Joe and John Anik being the only show in town in Jacksonville, when Justin Gaethje had that unbelievable performance. My profile raised tenfold because there were no sports going on in the world. So it allows me to stay visible whenever I’m not even fighting and it’s been great.
Speaker 5: (36:31)
Dana, question for you. What are your nerves like when you get two fighters who you know as well as these two in such an important fight? When that walkout song hits, what are your nerves like?
Is that for me?
Speaker 5: (36:44)
Yes it’s for you.
When the walkout songs… what are my nerves like?
Speaker 5: (36:48)
What are your nerves like when the big fight is happening and they’re walking out and your two fighters, who know so well in such a big fight, are about to enter?
I think I feel the same way that all the fans do. I’m excited yet nervous. And they walk out and when they get into the octagon and start moving around. And then obviously when Buffer does his thing, and then when they get the guys face to face, you’re ready to explode. I just can’t wait for the first punch to be thrown and the fight to happen. I feel like every fan in the world feels when the big fight happens.
Speaker 5: (37:25)
My last question is for both Daniel and Stipe. After this fight, what will be more important to you, having the championship or what it means for your legacy?
Stipe Miocic: (37:38)
You go first. [inaudible 00:37:38].
Daniel Cormier: (37:39)
No, you [inaudible 00:37:37].
Daniel Cormier: (37:39)
You go first because I’ve been going-
Stipe Miocic: (37:40)
But you’re great at talking.
I’ll take this one.
Daniel Cormier: (37:41)
You go first.
Stipe Miocic: (37:47)
I mean, winning the bout’s all about the legacy sides. For me it’s, I mean, just getting a W and getting that belt. It’s all I care about. That’s all I think about.
Daniel Cormier: (37:54)
It’s been a long time since I’ve never held a portion of the UFC championship, and I’ve never touched that belt that Stipe holds over there. So for me, it’s about getting the belt and beating a very, very good fighter. So it’s about the belt. It is.
Speaker 6: (38:12)
This question’s for both Stipe and DC. The heavyweight division’s had to wait a year for this trilogy. Rightfully so, when you look at all the names out there, who’s most deserving for the next title shot?
Daniel Cormier: (38:26)
I mean, you should probably answer that. You’ll still be around.
Stipe Miocic: (38:28)
I’m not a match maker. I mean, there’s a lot of guys. I mean, Ngannou is looking great. Blaydes. I mean, I don’t know. It’s what the UFC wants. I fight, I’m not a match maker.
Daniel Cormier: (38:40)
I think that’s more for Stipe. He’ll still be around. So regardless of what happens Saturday, I imagine he’s going to be fighting for the UFC championship against whichever of those guys. So that’s kind of a question for him. I’m just going to get my belt and go into playing golf.
Speaker 6: (38:57)
Final question will be for Stipe because he’ll be fighting. Has the fire department made you wear the championship belt while you’ve been cleaning toilets over this past year still?
Stipe Miocic: (39:06)
No, just that one time. Savages. Not really happy about that situation. Thank you for bringing that up.
Speaker 6: (39:13)
Stipe Miocic: (39:14)
But they’re probably going to do it again. So it is what it is.
Speaker 7: (39:21)
Stipe, you were just asked about legacy and you kind of said the belt’s more important than that. But do you think about ahead, what you want to leave? What you want to have people remember you by when you’re done?
Stipe Miocic: (39:33)
Yeah, for sure. Definitely, legacy but if it’s more for my daughter, [inaudible 00:39:36] get more kids, I want to show them that hard work pays off. Show them that I put my effort into something and good things happened and get what yours and do what you want. And I just want her to be like, “Hey, my dad did pretty cool things.” And just know I did for her and just, it’s all I care about.
Speaker 7: (39:52)
And a lot of analysts have said the smaller cage is an advantage for DC. Would you disagree with it?
Stipe Miocic: (39:58)
I guess so. I mean, everyone’s been saying it, so I guess it’s advantage for him.
Speaker 7: (40:02)
Did that factor into your game planning or your-
Stipe Miocic: (40:04)
No, I train in a cage like that all the time.
Speaker 7: (40:09)
Okay. And for DC, the same question. I mean, do you think it is an advantage for you?
Daniel Cormier: (40:12)
I mean, I’ve been able to get closer, faster, right? In the smaller octagons, in those spaces that I’ve been training. I’ve got a style that goes forward anyways, I’m trying to pursue guys. And there’s just not as many exit routes. I was watching the last fight and there were a number of times where I got Stipe close to the side of the octagon and I went to punch and he would disappear. And I just think that there’s a few steps less as you start to press a guy towards the side of the octagon. So I fought Josh Barnett in that cage. I fought all my Strikeforce fights in that cage. So I really don’t imagine it being much difference, honestly.
Speaker 7: (40:50)
And you’ve had to talk a lot today about being your last fight and everything about that. But how important is a moment? To have a moment to walk off on?
Daniel Cormier: (40:59)
It’s all about moments. It’s all about moments, right? The moment when you win your first title. The moment that you win both titles and you’re sitting atop of the cage and the fan adulation. Those things are important. But this moment, I believe, will be bigger than any of them. You don’t get to bask in all the people screaming, but you get to fight in that environment right there, in that cage with just that small amount of people and they can hear the punches. We hit each other a lot last fight. Could you imagine what you’re going to hear Saturday night when we’re punching each other? It’s going to be fantastic. I mean, I can’t wait for it.
Speaker 7: (41:36)
And along those same lines, I guess the downside of having a moment is that you’re like, “Oh, I can do this again.” And you’ve had that.
Daniel Cormier: (41:43)
And that’s the problem, right? With most athletes. When you do that, you feel like, “Oh, I’m the best in the world.” Because again, most guys in my position, when they’re talking about being done, they’re on the prelim somewhere. Or they’re there for some young guy to beat, right? And elevate himself off of their name. That’s not me. I’m fighting to be the best in the world. So on Saturday when I win, I’m the best in the world. But you got to be comfortable walking away as the best in the world, or eventually you’re going to end up on the prelims for somebody to beat you and build off of your name. It’s just the way the game works.
Speaker 7: (42:18)
And then the last thing is, you were talking about the body shots in preparing. Is there a way to prepare to take them or you just have to prepare not to get hit with them?
Daniel Cormier: (42:25)
You watch a lot of boxing. You watch a lot of boxing and when the tall guy throws that lead body shot, there were a number of shots open and available to counter with. So that’s what I’ve been really doing a lot. And I try to think that I’m a smart guy and on Saturday, hopefully, I can pretend to be smart again when he tries to go to the body. Because when the tall guy changes levels to go to the body there are some openings and I’m hoping to exploit those.
Thank you guys. We appreciate it. We’re going to get this stuff out of here and square these guys off.
Yeah. All right, let’s do it boys. Face forward. Thank you guys.
One of the greatest of all time, Daniel Cormier.
This fight’s for legacy. This fight’s for everything. I want to be remembered as the one of the greatest fighters of all time. I have to win this fight.
Stipe Miocic, the most accomplished UFC heavyweight champion this octagon has ever seen.
Being a UFC heavyweight champion is everything to me. I’m walking out with my belt. And still.
This is the fight that settles it all.