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Daniel Cormier struggling to decide if UFC 241 will be final fight

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Daniel Cormier has already exceeded the expected retirement date for his MMA career, and it appears the UFC heavyweight champion is waiting to pick the right moment to walk away.

Cormier (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) puts his title on the line Saturday when he rematches Stipe Miocic (18-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) in the main event of UFC 241. After extending his retirement timeline beyond age 40, he has publicly stated the Miocic rematch could be his last fight. But depending on the outcome and his health afterward, Cormier could keep going, too.

Knowing when to retire is an age-old struggle for MMA fighters. Some do it too soon and ultimately come back, while others stick around far longer than they should. Cormier is currently trying to navigate those waters and find balance.

“I think what’s going to be the most difficult for me is I’m going to have to let go when I can still compete,” Cormier told MMA Junkie on Thursday at UFC 241 media day. “Worst case scenario, if I was to lose to Stipe this weekend I could go, ‘I want a rematch’, and I would probably get it immediately. But if I lose it would probably mean I’m close to getting done. Or I could win, and I could be like, ‘I’m going to go on to the next dude and the next dude’ and then eventually somebody is going to get you.

“Either you get shown the door, or you choose when you make your exit. I want to be the guy who decides. I want to be like Georges St-Pierre. Georges went out on his own terms.”

If Cormier is successful at UFC 241, he will likely face pressure to compete again, perhaps in a title defense against Francis Ngannou or an anticipated trilogy with Jon Jones. He said he doesn’t feel obligated to do anything, though, and for now his focus is on Miocic.

Prior to running it back Saturday at Honda Center, Cormier won the initial meeting with Miocic by first-round knockout last year at UFC 226. “DC” envisions a different fight but is plenty confident he can win again.

“I think he’s going to make some adjustments,” Cormier said of Miocic. “You can go back very far in his career, and he does a lot of things really well. Those things he does really well are what’s carried him this whole time, so I don’t imagine he would change those things much. You look at a guy, and you think it’s the finished product, but you look and see what’s changed. I’ve made him, in my mind, so good it’s insane.”

Even if he wins in his most ideal manner, Cormier said he doesn’t have a definitive answer for what will be next. He’s taking life one day at a time, he said, and won’t be able to share further insight until after Saturday.

“I don’t know,” Cormier said. “I’m trying to live in the here and now. I’m living in the here and now. We’ll see what happens.”

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