Daniel Cormier looks to walk away after UFC 252 and retire amongst the greats, Michael Jordan and Peyton Manning

Former two-division champion Daniel Cormier believes he has the opportunity to accomplish something special tomorrow night at UFC 252.

When Cormier and Stipe Miocic meet inside the octagon for the heavyweight champions on per-per-view at the UFC Apex, Cormier will make his final walk to the octagon.

“DC” has accomplished so much in the sport of MMA he has won 2 world titles, set records, and competed against the best but he believes he will accomplish something that will transcend beyond the sport of MMA and into the history book of all sports.

Walking away with a win and retiring as the two-time heavyweight champion will put him amongst the most memorable exits in all of sports and in the same league as Michael Jordan and Payton Manning.

“In MMA, yes, but I think it puts you right alongside the greatest sports athletes of all time,” he told reporters at the pre-fight press conference for UFC 252, which takes place on Saturday at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. “Michael Jordan won with the Bulls when they beat the Jazz. Unfortunately, he came back. I won’t come back.

“Peyton Manning won a Super Bowl in his last season. It would put me in that type of sphere, with some of the greatest athletes that have ever competed across any sport. When I win on Saturday, I will retire that way.”

If things don’t go as planned for Cormier, he feels equipped to move on and live his life in peace as he did for his rivalry against Jon Jones.

Photo by AP

“I’m a guy with a big ego, and that would suck,” Cormier said. “I’ve got to be honest. To think there would be two guys in my career that were just better than me, and I had multiple chances to beat them, and I didn’t get it done … Yeah, it would suck.”

“It’s been a long time since I’ve never held a portion of the UFC championship, and I’ve never touched that belt that Stipe holds over there,” he said. “So for me, it’s about getting the belt, and beating a very good fighter.”

A spectacular win over the heavyweight champ may tempt other athletes to continue fighting, but for Cormier one thing that will not happen is pushing back his retirement regardless of the outcome.

“That’s the problem with most athletes,” he said. “When you do that, you feel like, I’m the best in the world. Most of the guys in my position when they’re talking about being done, they’re down on the prelims somewhere. They’re there for some young guy to beat and elevate their name.

“That’s not me. I’m fighting to be the best in the world. So on Saturday, when I win, I’m the best in the world. But you’ve got to be comfortable walking away as the best in the world, or eventually, you’re going to end up on the prelims for somebody to beat you and build off your name. It’s just the way the game works.”

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