UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier pushes retirement date back

UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has long stated he wanted to retire by March 20 of this year, his 40th birthday. Not anymore.

Due to multiple injuries -- a back problem that occurred while sneezing, a nagging thumb injury and arthritis in his wrist -- that retirement date will now be in the spring or summer.

Cormier said he needs more time to recover in order to prepare for what could be his final fight.

"I just don't know if I'm going to do what I did in New York again, where I have to fight where I'm not 110 percent," Cormier said Monday on The MMA Hour. "Because I truly do feel like the reason my back went out was because I went from zero to trying to prepare for a fight in three weeks and I can't really do that. I need those first four weeks of a pre-training camp just to prepare my body to go through a full eight-week camp.

"I used to do 12 weeks. I did all that in four and that's why my body started falling apart on me. Twelve weeks and I'm not at 100 percent, so say, I don't know, spring? Summer? I don't know. Not exactly sure yet."

Cormier, ESPN's 2018 Fighter of the Year, won three times in the past 12 months. He retained his UFC light heavyweight belt by defeating Volkan Oezdemir by second-round TKO. Cormier later followed that up with a first-round KO of Stipe Miocic to claim the heavyweight title and defended it in November with a second-round submission against Derrick Lewis.

Cormier vacated the UFC's light heavyweight belt in December after moving up weight classes.

His next opponent is still up in the air. It could be a third bout with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, a rematch with Miocic or against former heavyweight champion and current WWE superstar Brock Lesnar.

"We're not waiting for Brock Lesnar," Cormier said. "Because of my injuries, I'm just not available to fight. If I was available to fight, I probably would have fought Stipe already. But I'm just not available to fight right now so we'll see what happens with Lesnar and then we'll address what's after that."