Daniel Cormier's 2019 3-Fight UFC Master Plan

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2019

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03:  Daniel Cormier of the United States walks out of the arena with his belts after winning the heavyweight title bout against Derrick Lewis of the United States during the UFC 230 event at Madison Square Garden on November 3, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Steven Ryan/Getty Images

UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier says he has one fight left in him. Precedent, though, says he's got a lot more. Fighters rarely leave money on the table when it comes to retirement, and Cormier has a number of potentially lucrative fights available to him.

Cormier's longtime coach, Javier Mendez, acknowledged as much earlier this week. Still, at 39 years old, there's no question that the clock is ticking for him, making 2019 a big year for him.

On Thursday, Bleacher Report peered into a crystal ball and went over the amazing possibilities for Jon Jones in 2019. On Friday, Cormier will be getting the same treatment.

What does the future hold in store for Cormier? Who could he end up facing this year to cement his legacy and pad his 401(k) a bit? Read on and find out!


LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 07:  Daniel Cormier confronts Brock Lesnar in the Octagon after his UFC heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 226 event inside T-Mobile Arena on July 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Fight 1: Brock Lesnar

There's no question that Cormier's eyes are fixed on Brock Lesnar right now. The WWE Universal champion represents everything that Cormier could want in a fight: He's a huge draw, he's a stylistic opponent and he's somebody who will really let Cormier show off his skills on the microphone. 

This isn't lost on Cormier, either, and DC has been fairly clear in recent months that he wants to face The Beast Incarnate more than anybody else on the roster. Because of that an active 2019 for the champ absolutely needs to start with Lesnar.

The trick there is that Lesnar's WWE schedule provides only a few windows for him to compete in the Octagon, as he's likely to be called upon for the company's Big Four events and, in all likelihood, any Saudi Arabia-funded shows. Lesnar is already booked for a match at the Royal Rumble later this month and expected to be featured prominently at WrestleMania in April. Given that, and the UFC's current schedule, the only viable landing spot for a Lesnar fight opposite Cormier would be UFC 235 in March.

Though the fight could be booked later in the year (with the UFC's July pay-per-view the the next best landing spot), a three-fight 2019 for DC would have to begin there. 


LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 07:  Daniel Cormier (top) punches Stipe Miocic as referee Marc Goddard intervenes to stop  their heavyweight championship fight at T-Mobile Arena on July 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cormier won by first round knockout.  (Photo by Sa
Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Fight 2: Stipe Miocic

This former UFC heavyweight champion has not handled his loss of the title gracefully.

On one hand, that's justified as he was basically shoved out of the title picture the second his two-year run with the belt ended. On the other hand? His gripes are without merit, given his consistently adversarial stance toward the UFC, his unwillingness to grow his brand during his reign and the fact he was blown up by Cormier inside one round.

Still, there's no denying that his body of work calls for an opportunity to take the belt back at some point. If Cormier gets through Lesnar cleanly (which he should), a rematch between the two would make for a solid pay-per-view main event.

Unlike a potential matchup with Lesnar, the only real hurdle in making this fight would be pay. Cormier stated in October that he's not especially bullish on rematching Miocic given the underwhelming revenue their first bout tallied and Miocic hasn't really endeared anyone in defeat. 

If the UFC wants to make this fight a reality, however, it can do so by just cutting Cormier a fair paycheck.


ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 28:   (L-R) Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones face off during the UFC 214 weigh-in inside the Honda Center on July 28, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Fight 3: Jon Jones

For a long while, Cormier's legacy was "the best light heavyweight in history, next to Jon Jones." That's not a knock on his skills, of course. The 205-pound division has long been the premier division of western MMA, and hitting that mark immediately qualifies him as an all-time great-caliber talent.

Still, he was the NFL's Jim Kelly to Jones' Troy Aikman, and that's not a label that would sit well with any competitor.

That narrative shifted quite a bit with Cormier's win over Miocic. With just one punch, DC undid much of the damage done by his two failed bouts with Jones and surprisingly moved within striking distance of GOAT status with that win. Still, he has the chance to cement a place at the top by turning the tables and taking a win over Jones.

Jones, for his part, seems gung-ho about a third match with DC. While the heavyweight champ isn't as enthusiastic about the idea, there's no question that this stands as one of the most lucrative opportunities available to him. A showdown between DC and his personal final boss would be an epic way to close out 2019, and if he ended his career with a win over his archrival? That would go down as the stuff of legends. 

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