All it took was a phone call to rid Daniel Cormier of his reluctance to move back up to heavyweight.
Once “DC” and Stipe Miocic had defended their respective titles at UFC 220 earlier this month, president Dana White convinced the light heavyweight champ to challenge the heavyweight king in a potentially history-making bout, despite Cormier’s longstanding refusal to return to a division teammate and friend Cain Velasquez occupies.
But as Cormier toldthis week, it was a call to Miocic that put any trepidation over a date at UFC 226 to bed. Tempting as the prospect of becoming a two-division champion might have been, Cormier wouldn’t sign on the dotted line until he ensured both he and the perennially underappreciated Miocic were compensated accordingly.
“I did speak with him. I spoke with Stipe, I called Stipe,” Cormier revealed. “Obviously, you know, great guy, I got to spend some time with him, fantastic champion, just a pillar of his community. I can’t say enough good things about Stipe Miocic.
“With that being said, I told Stipe for $500,000, I’m not fighting Stipe Miocic. I threw out a big(ger) number and said for that number, I’m fighting Stipe Miocic. He goes, ‘I f—ing love you.’ That’s what he said. I said for the right numbers we need to do this. His wife is in the back going, ‘Yes, DC!'”
Miocic's contractual issues have been well documented. The heavyweight champ – who took ownership of the divisional record with his third successful defense at UFC 220 – made less cabbage than the challengers of his two previous title bouts, so needless to say, his stance on the champ vs. champ echoed Cormier's.
“I wanted to make sure it was right financially and everything, too,” Miocic told Martin. “It’s a superfight, so I had to make sure it was right financially and make sure it was OK with my wife, too. And make sure it was OK with him. It’s a two-way street. We were both OK with it. Why not? Let’s do it. It’s what the fans want to see.”
The pair of titleholders have shown nothing but the utmost respect for one another, and the way Cormier sees it, they needn’t get to jawing to promote an inherently tantalizing matchup.
“It’s a deal where this one is not about ill will. This one is not about rivalry. This one is not about any of that stuff,” Cormier said. “This is a competition between two of the heaviest guys who are champions to see who walks this Earth with that title. That’s it.”
Cormier and Miocic will star as opposing coaches on the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter” before the former challenges the latter at UFC 226 on July 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
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