It’s time for Daniel Cormier to move on, according to his coach and mentor, Javier Mendez.
Cormier, the former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion, recently fell short in an attempt to reclaim the heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic at UFC 252. Much of the talk leading up to the event, as well as since, surrounded Cormier’s fighting future.
DC said it likely was his last bout and certainly treated it as such. Cormier (22-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) never outright said he’s done with MMA but did mention he’s only interested in fighting for championship belts, which is likely not in his future following a second straight loss to Miocic.
Mendez, who’s been alongside Cormier throughout his career, wants the beloved former champ-champ to hang up his gloves.
“He needs to stop,” Mendez said in Spanish on Monday’s episode of “Hablemos MMA”. “He’s 41, and the truth is that he’s not the same person I had when he was 27 years old. He’s gone down a bit.
“He’s got so many obligations with interviews, television, and it’s best that he doesn’t fight. It sucks that the fight went that way, and he had to leave like that, but you know, he’s one of the best in the world. What he’s done is very big. He doesn’t need to do any more. He’s not No. 1 or 2 pound-for-pound, but he’s four or seven or around that number. What he did is great. I don’t want him to fight, and he doesn’t want to fight because he only wants to fight for titles. And for what? He’s going to make more money with television and other things, and if he’s not fighting for a title, why fight?
“All the fights that he’s had, his last 11 fights have been for the title. So this time not fighting for a title? I don’t think so. And he wants to help me, help his kid and the wrestlers he has. He’s very proud, and it fills him with joy to be training them so they can be good men.”
Mendez, the head coach of American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, is sad about the unfortunate eye poke that occurred against Miocic. He thinks the eye poke greatly affected Cormier’s performance that night but knows it was accidental. Cormier suffered a torn cornea as a result.
Mendez hopes Cormier, who’s the captain of the team at AKA, joins him to help mold the young stable of fighters currently training at the gym.
“Yeah, that’s what he’s going to do, that’s what he wants to do,” Mendez explained. “He wants to do other things too with television, but he wants to help me and ‘Crazy’ Bob Cook and the coaches, and be a coach with me. And that gives me a lot of pride.”
If Cormier officially retires from the sport and never sets foot in the cage to compete, Mendez is proud of his career and accomplishments. But beyond UFC titles and records, Mendez is most proud of Cormier as a person.
“He’s one of the greatest ever, and I’m so proud of him,” Mendez said. “I love him with all my heart. He’s a great person. He’s helped many people, and he doesn’t say anything about it. He helps many people with money and other things here and there.
“He’s one of the best. He’s a star, right? And many stars do these things for publicity, but not him. He does it because he feels it in his heart. He was a young kid, and he was poor, and many helped him in his wrestling career, and he wants to give back because he knows what others have done for him. He’s a great person and wants to give back as others helped him.”