In the days leading up to the fight on Saturday night, Cormier was honest enough to admit that retirement was looming and it was possible that the rematch against Miocic could be the last of his storied career.
Cormier ultimately fell to Miocic by fourth-round knockout but he recognizes that after a highly charged and emotional defeat it’s not the right time to make life altering decisions like what the future holds for his fight career.
“A lot of times we base decisions in emotion. I don’t want to be that guy. I’m going to go back and talk to [my wife] Selina and my coaches and we’ll figure out what’s next,” Cormier said at the UFC 241 post fight press conference.
“Losing is just terrible for me. I’m a competitive guy and just losing any type of fight is just terrible. Being finished to me is just insane. That’s twice I’ve been stopped, that’s not good. I’m smart enough to understand that.”
While the result obviously didn’t go his way, Cormier was winning the fight up until the fourth round when Miocic staged a triumphant comeback. The judges had the fight scored 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 for Cormier after three rounds and he knew what he was doing up to that point was working well.
“I felt like I was doing pretty good. But then he landed that shot, in the fourth round he landed some good body punches and he landed that right hand that I didn’t see and he got the finish. He did a great job,” Cormier stated.
“I kind of took the pressure off a little bit. I don’t know why. Maybe try to rest and recover for the fifth round because he wasn’t going anywhere. I don’t know what the reasoning behind it was but obviously it was a mistake.”
The first round saw the strongest performance from Cormier as he battered Miocic with punches and then landed a huge slam takedown, which led to a dominant ground and pound attack once the fight was on the canvas.
According to Cormier, his coaches wanted him to stay on the attack with his wrestling all fight long but after the first round he largely abandoned that strategy in favor of a striking heavy offense.
“That was the strategy,” Cormier said about using his wrestling against Miocic. “That’s probably the biggest letdown is how I let my coaches down. They were begging me to wrestle.
“That’s probably the most disappointing thing is that I didn’t do what I was trained to do. I feel like I let my coaches down.”
The former two-division UFC champion couldn’t explain exactly why he went away from his wrestling but it likely came down to the success he was having on the feet.
Unfortunately for Cormier, he paid for it in the end.
“I think when you start finding success and landing things, you kind of fall in love with it,” Cormier said. “It feels like the [Alexander] Gustafsson fight all over again when I wrestled a lot in the first round then for the last four rounds I just didn’t and they were begging me to do it then.
“Tonight I actually paid the ultimate price for not listening to my coaches. I’m usually pretty good about doing that.”