Cormier Relinquishes UFC Light Heavyweight Title
In a year where Daniel Cormier went 3-0 and became the first person to hold both the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight title, he decided to control his legacy on Friday by relinquishing his light heavyweight title.
In a statement to ESPN on Friday, Cormier announced that he would rather give up the belt over having it stripped from him on December 29th when Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson fought for it at UFC 232.
“Today I am going to relinquish the UFC light heavyweight title,” Cormier wrote in an exclusive statement to ESPN. “I am not going to be stripped of the belt that I’ve defended with my all for three and a half years. Being stripped of a title suggests you’ve done something wrong, and I haven’t.
“I’d rather walk away this way, with my head held high as it always has been, than have the history books say I was stripped. I’ve defended this title this year. I was approached with the idea of fighting at heavyweight, so I took it. I fought three times in 2018. No champion has been more active than me. I am the fighter of the year. My story and my legacy will not include me being stripped of a title. They can have it.”
Cormier won the then vacant title in 2015, when he defeated Anthony Johnson at UFC 187, and held it until UFC 214 in July 2017, when he would lose it to Jones.
That would be a brief time without the title, as Jones would test positive for turinabol, forcing the title to be stripped from Jones and returned to Cormier. Since UFC 214, Cormier defended the title against Volkan Oezdemir, and then shocked the world with a first round knockout of Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 in July.
The Lousiana native was last seen in the Octagon stopping Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 in November at Madison Square Garden to retain the heavyweight title.
Cormier plans to retire after his next fight, allegedly against Brock Lesnar, looking to end his career by the age of 40 and wants nothing to do with Jones.
Initial Report: ESPN