Daniel Cormier said Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to his fight against Stipe Miocic at UFC 252 in August.
Cormier told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports that he initially tested negative for COVID-19 in early July after a teammate tested positive, but when he began to feel tired and sluggish later in the month, he was tested again and it came back positive.
The 41-year-old Cormier credited the Oura health ring with indicating to him that something was wrong with his body, which resulted in him getting tested again:
"This is not an excuse at all. Miocic won the fight and he fought beautifully. This is a thank you almost to Oura for allowing me to get to the fight. I might have just kept pushing and not known I had it. But I was able to take care of myself properly and then get back into training and compete for the heavyweight championship of the world. Without the ring, I don't think that's possible."
In the third fight of his trilogy against Miocic, Cormier fell at UFC 252 by unanimous decision, resulting in Miocic retaining the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
As with most sports, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on UFC. It forced the promotion to put fights on hold initially before returning without fans, and multiple competitors have had to pull out of fights after testing positive for the virus.
Having to delay Cormier vs. Miocic would have been potentially devastating for UFC since it was one of the most highly anticipated bouts of the year, but Cormier was diagnosed with coronavirus early enough that he was able to recover in the nick of time.
Cormier and Miocic fought twice previously, with Cormier beating Miocic at UFC 226 to win the UFC Heavyweight title and become a two-division champion, and then he dropped the title to Miocic at UFC 241.
With the win, Miocic improved to 20-3 in his career, while Cormier fell to 22-3, although the mere fact that Cormier was able to compete and go the distance against a fighter of Miocic's caliber only one month after testing positive for COVID-19 speaks to Cormier's ability and will as a fighter.
Cormier has long teased retirement, but after his loss to Miocic, he made it official and decided to step away from the sport as one of the most successful UFC fighters of all time.
While Cormier had many impressive performances over the course of his career, pushing Miocic to the limit after working his way back from COVID-19 has to rank near the top despite the fact that DC came out on the losing end.