UFC news, rumors: Daniel Cormier willing to defend vs. Stipe Miocic if Brock Lesnar is unavailable

Who will Daniel Cormier defend the UFC heavyweight championship against next is one of the burning questions as we enter 2019. Back at UFC 226 in July when he defeated three-time defending champion Stipe Miocic for the belt, he was confronted by former heavyweight king and reigning WWE universal champion Brock Lesnar in the cage, leading us all to believe that would be the marquee fight in early 2019. Lately, though, that doesn't seem to be the case, as Lesnar recently signing a new deal with WWE has left his future in the Octagon rather cloudy. 

So who could Cormier face next as he attempts to keep his plan in place to retire by his 40th birthday in March? He addressed the matter on Monday during an appearance on "The MMA Hour," and revealed that if the big-money Lesnar fight does come completely off the table, then he's more than willing to give the former history-making champion the rematch he deserves. 

"If it ain't Brock, I want to fight Stipe Miocic and give him what's rightfully his, a rematch for this title," Cormier said. 

At UFC 226, Cormier handily ended Miocic's reign with a stunning first-round knockout victory, but given the fact that Miocic defended the heavyweight belt more than anyone in promotion history, many called for him to get an immediate rematch as so many other former champions before him have. When Lesnar abruptly entered the picture, however, his pay-per-view drawing power turned a Cormier-Miocic rematch into a near impossibility.

Even with Cormier's retirement plan, though, UFC president Dana White was optimistic following the UFC 232 event in Los Angeles this past Saturday that Cormier vs. Lesnar will happen at some point -- even if Miocic gets his rematch first. 

More UFC news, rumors

  • Cat Zingano is considering appealing her bizarre loss to Megan Anderson at UFC 232 over the weekend. Anderson earned the TKO victory after a left kick attempt culminated in one of her toes striking the eye of Zingano, forcing the bout to an end. Zingano detailed the damage she suffered to ESPN and also revealed that she's considering an appeal of the finish. Given the accidental circumstances of the ending, she may not be given a favorable ruling. 
  • The Professional Fighters League, which grew in popularity as the year went on, came to a close on New Year's Eve with six tournament winners being crowned and earning $1 million in the process. In the main event, Magomed Magomedkerimov defeated Ray Cooper III via submission in the second round to become the inaugural PFL welterweight champion and adding his name to the list of $1 million recipients. 

Jack joined CBS Sports in 2018 as an editor and writer covering college football, combat sports and golf. He was raised to love the New York Yankees unconditionally since birth and firmly believes a four-team... Full Bio

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