With the benefit of hindsight, retired former two-weight UFC champion Daniel Cormier now believes he should have retired in 2018 on top of the sport, after back surgery left him unable to compete to the best of his ability.
“When I had that back surgery in 2018 after Derrick Lewis it was over,” Cormier told ESPN. “It was over. Like I mean, it was absolutely, it was over. I fought twice since and I possibly should not have. You can find those things in hindsight. But, when I had that back surgery it so severely limited what I could do that it was pretty much over. I wasn’t the same guy. I trained hard last fight and Stipe beat me. But, I just wasn’t the same guy no more after the back surgery. I should’ve probably stopped, I should’ve probably stopped. I wasn’t the same guy, I couldn’t train as I trained before and that is about as honest as I could be with everyone.”
DC went on to say he tries not to dwell on his mistakes, but nonetheless he’s frustrated that he didn’t call it quits when he was at the summit of the MMA mountain, rather than waiting until he’d suffered back-to-back losses.
“I think you can’t live with regret. Living with regret is tough. It sucks because at the end of 2018 I was atop the world. I was the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world, I beat Stipe, I had won back the light heavyweight championship, I defeated Derrick Lewis. Anytime you are the first at anything in the UFC, it is massive. At the end of 2018, I was riding that wave but then my back was just so bad.
“It was bad for a long time, right, there were a lot of times in the middle of training camp I would have to take days off because my back was so beat up. Legitimately, break everything down to the core, all the wear and tear in order to get back to my feet. I remember times in the middle of my championship run or before when I was crawling up the stairs at my house because my back was so jacked up. I was always able to manage it but once I had that surgery it was done.”