Daniel Cormier reacts to Dustin Poirier retirement talks ahead of UFC 302: ‘I hate that’

Daniel Cormier admits that he’s not a fan of the headlines surrounding Dustin Poirier’s potential retirement ahead of UFC 302, but that’s mostly because Cormier remembers having similar thoughts.

“The problem with bringing up the retirement is it becomes the story of the fight,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel.

Poirier will challenge Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title in the main event of Saturday’s pay-per-view event in Newark. To be fair, “The Diamond” isn’t the one bringing up retirement on his own, as he has been asked about it in nearly every interview he has done over the last couple of years — although with it being Poirier’s last chance to capture undisputed gold, the topic is obviously at the forefront of storylines.

Although Poirier has time and time again said that a decision won’t be made until after the fight, the possibility can’t be ignored, and it makes Cormier realize that the end is almost near for his fellow Louisianan.

“I hate that, I honestly cannot stand that,” Cormier said. “I can’t stand hearing that it’s almost over for a guy that we all universally love and enjoy when he’s inside the octagon.

“I also hate it for another reason: I hate it for the idea that it could be almost over, and he recognizes that. I don’t like when athletes — because I did it myself, so I’m almost judging myself — I don’t love when athletes put a timeline, or a finishing point on a career that’s still actively going on. That is a hard thing to do, because I will tell you this right now: The life after the fight, while it may be hard to adjust to initially, when you look at it from the inside and you’re going through those training camps and everything’s so tough, and you’re exhausted, and you’re fighting one of the most dangerous people in the world, the other side seems very nice. The other side’s even better than you could ever imagine.”

Cormier was in the same shoes as Poirier heading into his heavyweight championship trilogy bout with Stipe Miocic at UFC 252 in August 2020. After losing a unanimous decision, it didn’t come as a shock that “DC” was going to call it a career with so much ahead of him outside of the octagon.

After knocking out Benoit Saint Denis in a thrilling win at UFC 299, Poirier got the call to face the sport’s current pound-for-pound best fighter for the title. Poirier came up short against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira in his first two opportunities to capture lightweight gold, and considering how deep the division is — outside of a short notice emergency situation — Poirier will unlikely get another chance.

Cormier understands Poirier’s position in life and the sport, but the former two-division champ and current color commentator hopes Poirier isn’t looking too deep into what life after fighting might look like days away from a super tough fight.

“When you start looking to the other side, when you start looking to a time when you don’t have to get up every morning and run seven miles, or you when you don’t have to spar, you don’t have to grapple, you have to wrestle, you have to do all of these things, it really does open up a world that the active fighter should never really think about,” Cormier explained. “And again, he may just be different than me, but I know what it did to me at the end of my career, because I started looking to the time where I don’t have to worry about cutting the weight, doing all of this other stuff. That’s miserable.

“Life after that there’s vacations, beaches, eating what you want, doing whatever you want. I don’t love that there’s so many references to ‘my last chance,’ or ‘my last dance, I’m not committing to retirement.’ It’s like, if you have any desire to fight, you’ve got to be so in the fight that there is no thought of what comes next.”

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