UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is getting tired of rumors suggesting he's ducking fights—especially when it comes to a third bout with Daniel Cormier.
Miocic hasn't entered the Octagon since August 2019, when he defeated Cormier to win back the belt, and there's a good reason for that: the Ohio-born fighter has needed time to recover from surgery to repair a torn retina in his eye following repeated pokes from Cormier.
Just when it looked like he was ready to sign a deal to complete the trilogy of fights with Cormier, the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of gyms and training facilities across Miocic's home state.
Cormier has chirped at Miocic on Twitter, telling him to build a gym in his home to train instead. Speaking with Damon Martin of MMA Fighting, Miocic brushed off the criticism:
"I don't care. I really don't care what [Cormier's] opinion is. Never did. Honestly, he says one thing and then contradicts himself all the time.
"Apparently I'm not a champ. He just calls his own shots. Whatever. Everyone else is talking. Saying vacate or defend. Whatever, I can't make everybody happy or anybody happy. I don't care at this point. Stop crying."
Miocic also said he feels those in UFC aren't paying enough respect to his side job as a paramedic and firefighter during the pandemic. UFC President Dana White said it's possible Miocic is stripped of his title since fights are permitted now, questioning the champ's commitment to the sport.
"Listen, once I can fight, I'm going to fight," Miocic said. "There's no question. We're talking to the UFC, and we're going to figure out a good date. That's what we're doing. We're trying to figure something out."
A few weight classes below Miocic, welterweight Mike Perry is also facing a peculiar set of circumstances as he plots his return to the Octagon.
After dropping three of his past four bouts, Perry is eschewing help from any coaches and instead will only have his girlfriend staff his corner.
Speaking with MMA Junkie's Farah Hannoun and Mike Bohn, Perry explained his decision rather simply:
"All I need the corner for is to pass me the bottle of water. Wipe my head off or put the ice on my neck when I get hot coming in between the rounds. It's probably not gonna go more than five minutes, and if it does, all I need is a bottle of water. I need to sip a drink, put some ice on my neck, and I don't need no advice.
"I feel like I never really gotten advice. I feel like people just sound like Charlie Brown's teacher in the corner. … They don't even know what the (expletive) to say because they wouldn't go in there and do what the (expletive) they're talking about. I don't really know how the coaching (expletive) works. It doesn't really matter."
Perry is looking for his next opponent as soon as possible, telling Hannoun and Bohn he'll fight "June, July, tomorrow, tonight, yesterday or the next day."
At 6-6 in the UFC, Perry is the No. 21 fighter in his weight class and is in desperate need of a winning streak in order to jump up the rankings.