"I'm disappointed. I wanted to fight Brock. I've known Brock a long time. I've competed with Brock for a long time in wrestling. I've always been a fan of his. We had that great moment after UFC 226, so the build was gonna be fun. But you can only really worry about things that you can control. I can't control that he doesn't want to fight anymore. He's done."
He added that he believes Lesnar made the smart call.
"I just think the WWE gave him such a great deal; they really always take care of this guy," he said. "Ultimately, you get paid that much money to go and wrestle as opposed to fighting me? There's no predetermined outcome there. I'm gonna try to kick your ass. So, I think he made the smart decision."
Lesnar told UFC President Dana White he was done fighting in the Octagon in early May, a decision that White also felt was the right move.
"I wasn't pissed at all," White said Tuesday on Instagram Live (h/t Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com). "Brock had a good run here. It's been fun. Listen, to fight in this business you have to be 100 percent invested. You've got to be in. It's not where his head was. He made the right decision."
A number of factors likely played a role.
For one, he'll be 42 in a month. He also would have had to re-enter the United States Anti-Doping Agency drug-testing pool before he could have fought again. And with Lesnar's return a focal point of WWE and Smackdown Live's move to Fox this October, the money was probably too good to pass up.
As for Cormier, he'll face Stipe Miocic in a rematch of their July 2018 bout—which Cormier won via first-round KO—with the heavyweight championship belt on the line at UFC 241 in Anaheim, California, on Aug. 17.
Now he can resume his friendship with Lesnar as well. Cormier said that when they were planning to fight one another, there were no more texts or calls between the longtime friends.
"Maybe I can start going to watch him wrestle and do all that other stuff again," he said.