Daniel Cormier lost to his rival Jon Jones in their rematch on Saturday at UFC 214. With that defeat, Cormier also lost the UFC light heavyweight title he has held since May 23, 2015.
That begs the question: what’s next for Cormier? The former champion has understandably been silent since his knockout loss, so the MMA world is unaware of whether DC will continue on in his successful MMA career. If the 38-year-old opts to not retire, there are some solid potential match-ups for him going forward:
No. 3-ranked Manuwa and Cormier have been jawing at each other for awhile now, and a fight between them seems inevitable. The two likely would have fought for the UFC light heavyweight title had Cormier and Manuwa both won their fights on Saturday. Instead, both were defeated, and a clash between the two still makes sense.
Despite both Cormier and Teixeira holding perpetual top-5 spots in the light heavyweight division, their paths have never crossed. The time could be now. Both are coming off of knockout losses to two guys who may very well fight next in Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. Teixeira could provide a solid and relevant return fight if the former champ remains at 205.
If Cormier chooses to make a return to the heavyweight division, Hunt would provide an interesting first fight back. Hunt, ranked at No. 6, could provide DC a chance to slip into the top-5 with a victory. “The Super Samoan” is coming off of a TKO victory over Derrick Lewis in June. Speaking of “The Black Beast…”
Lewis is fair-game after “The Black Beast” confirmed to Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour that he’s not retiring after all. A showdown with DC would give the fan-favorite Lewis more exposure, while providing Cormier with a solid match-up that he could utilize his wrestling in. The fight would easily be ideal for a main card slot on a PPV.
While Cormier should take at least one fight before meeting “The Reem” for the first time, it’d be a good bout down the line. The American Kickboxing Academy product’s striking has greatly improved over his 21-fight career, but this fight would be a classic striker vs. wrestler clash. Sign us up for this high-profile match-up.
Akin to Overeem, while a fight with Werdum may be too much, too soon for Cormier off a loss, it’d be a great bout in the future. Cormier’s wrestling vs. Werdum’s jiu-jitsu would make for an intriguing heavyweight fight, if it hits the ground. Ideally, fans would get five rounds of this in a Fight Night main event.
If the UFC would rather provide the Louisiana native with a fight that’s not too high up in the heavyweight division but would still get the former light heavyweight champ ranked with a win, Browne could be the guy. “Hapa” is on a four-fight skid and is 1-5 in his last six. A fight with Cormier would be mutually beneficial; a win for Cormier would get him into the heavyweight rankings, while a Browne victory would get him back on track. It may be a step down for DC, but it could be essential to a career rebirth up a weight class.
Whatever happens, there are plenty of realistic and fan-friendly options for Cormier, no matter which division he chooses. And if MMA fans have seen the last of DC, he’s had a career to be proud of.