Only one fighter might match Daniel Cormier if he’s able to retake the UFC heavyweight belt from Stipe Miocic on Saturday night at UFC 252, according to promotion president Dana White.
“He’d be neck and neck for greatest exit with [Georges] St-Pierre,” White said on Wednesday during a live-streamed chat with Yahoo! Sports Kevin Iole. “I mean, GSP left with the title, then came back, won the 185-pound title, and then left again.”
Cormier has said his trilogy with Miocic will be the final fight of his decorated career. The former two-division champion aims to make his second win of the UFC heavyweight title his swan song, though White and Cormier’s team believe he could continue to compete at a high level.
If this is it for Cormier, White said it’s a heck of a way to go out.
“The beautiful thing about this one is, it’s probably the best trilogy we’ve ever had in the UFC, and it’s for the heavyweight championship, and to determine who’s the GOAT,” White said.
St-Pierre’s comeback in 2017 was well-received by White, but the once-dominant welterweight’s subsequent retirement wasn’t a bright spot. After UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov tried to make a fight with St-Pierre, White balked at the idea, saying the former champ “bailed” on a promise to defend the middleweight belt he captured from Michael Bisping. Recently, however, White has changed his tune about seeing Nurmagomedov vs. St-Pierre.
White hasn’t figured out what he wants to do with the heavyweight division if Cormier wins and then leaves the belt vacant. Asked about a potential fight between one-time title challenger Francis Ngannou and current light heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones, the UFC exec was hesitant to sketch out any plans.
“That’s a lot of ifs,” White said. “We’ll see what happens.”
White is questioning less what happens to the heavyweight division and more how a classic rivalry will play out.
“Normally, I can tell you what I expect out of a fight,” he said. “I don’t know what to expect in this. I expect these guys to come out start banging like they did in the first two fights. Where it goes from there, I have no idea.”