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Daniel Cormier has repeatedly stated that UFC 252 would be his final mixed martial arts bout. While many debated whether that would prove true as his trilogy with Stipe Miocic approached, “DC” doubled down on that vow following a disappointing loss on Saturday night.
“It just sucks, being on the losing end of two big fights and trilogies – it’s a very sad position to be in,” Cormier told Joe Rogan in a post-fight interview. “But I will deal with it as I’ve dealt with things in the past. I’m not interested in fighting for anything but titles, and I don’t imagine there’s going to be a title in the future. So that’ll be it for me. I’ve had a long run. It’s been great. I just fought my last fight for a heavyweight championship, and it was a pretty good fight. It is what it is.”
Cormier was hindered badly by an eye poke that occurred in the third round, so much so that the American Kickboxing Academy product was unable to see out of his left eye for the remainder of the bout. According to a report from ESPN, Cormier suffered a torn cornea as a result of the foul and was discharged from the hospital on Saturday not. Surgery isn’t likely to be necessary.
“I mean, look at my eye,” Cormier said. “I couldn’t even f---ing see the rest of the fight. I can’t see anything out of my left eye. It’s black. It is what it is. It doesn’t matter. I told Marc [Goddard] he poked me, but he said he thought it was a punch. But after the fight he said, ‘Yeah, I saw it on the replay.’ I just can’t see out of my left eye. It doesn’t matter, though. Whatever. It is what it is.”
Goddard later issued an apology for missing the foul. Cormier inadvertently poked Miocic earlier in the bout, which the veteran official did catch. And of course, Miocic was victimized by eye pokes in their rematch that forced him to undergo surgery and endure a lengthy recovery process prior to UFC 252.
UFC president Dana White believes that the eye poke should detract from Miocic’s accomplishment, especially considering there was an earlier foul courtesy of Cormier.
“You can’t look at the eye poke and take that away. There were two eye pokes – they both got poked in the eye, and that eye was hurt before the poke,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “We’ve got a big group text that goes on, and I was like, ‘There’s something wrong with Cormier’s eye,’ and then he got poked after that. That didn’t help, but they both got poked – you can’t use that as an excuse. “I think his eye was hurt before the poke and the poke definitely didn’t help. But you can’t look at the poke and say, ‘Oh, the poke.’ Stipe got poked hard, too. They both got poked.”
Cormier wasn’t able to implement his wrestling as much as he might of liked, as he landed his lone takedown of the fight in the opening stanza. Outside of that, it was often Miocic who dictated the action in the clinch against the fence.
“It wasn’t much different [from their previous fights],” Cormier said. “I mean, look – I can’t see. So he did a good job. He was able to clinch and hold me against the side of the octagon for long periods of time, and I believe that separated those close rounds. … I felt like we were going pretty good. But when he would get those clinch positions, he was going double underhooks, which is something he didn’t do in the first two fights. Usually, we were going over-under, and I was able to get away, but tonight he went two under, so it gave me some trouble.”