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Daniel Cormier retires while Sean O’Malley suffers first-ever loss at UFC 252

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Daniel Cormier has officially retired from MMA following defeat to Stipe Miocic at UFC 252.

The former two-weight World champion had long said he would retire at 40 years old. However those plans were scuppered following Cormier’s loss to Miocic in August 2019 at UFC 241.

That set the wheels in motion for a highly anticipated trilogy fight at UFC 252. The fight in the saga took place on Saturday night, almost a year to the day after their last meeting.

Tensions ran high heading into the fight. With both men having scored one victory each over the other, the showdown was billed as deciding the greatest heavyweight in MMA history.

After five pulsating rounds where both men rocked each other, Miocic was given the unanimous decision victory. Following the fight, ‘DC’ made his retirement official.

“I’m not interested in fighting for anything but titles,” Cormier said in his post-fight interview.

“I don’t imagine there’s going to be a title in the future so, that’ll be it for me.

“I’ve had a long run, it’s been great. I just fought my last fight for a heavyweight championship and it was a pretty good fight.”

It is hard to argue Miocic’s place atop the UFC’s all-time heavyweight standings, with his sixth title win placing him joint-first with Randy Couture.

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The eye-poke

However, while Miocic was deserving of victory, the accidental eye-poke clearly affected his opponent. Cormier was clearly compromised coming into the third round and told his corner that he couldn’t see from his left eye.

“I felt bad. It wasn’t trying to be intentional,” Miocic said in his post-fight press conference.

“I told him many times I’m sorry during the fight. But what can you do?”

Eye pokes were a point of contention heading into the fight. Miocic required surgery for a damaged retina following his last fight with Cormier.

“He did it to me multiple times, you know? Whatever, it wasn’t on purpose.”

Dana White later poured cold water on those claiming that the eye-poke was the reason Miocic took home the decision.

“I think the eye was hurt before the poke and the poke definitely didn’t help, but you can’t look at it and say ‘Oh the poke’. Stipe got poked hard too. They both got poked.”

For Miocic, it would seem that his next title defence will be a rematch with Francis Ngannou.

Light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones teased a superfight with Miocic on Twitter, however, White claims Ngannou is definitely the next in line.

“Francis is definitely next,” White said. “You can’t jump over Francis. Francis has been out there destroying everybody. … It belongs to Francis Ngannou.”

Suga Show

Meanwhile, controversial injuries dominated the co-main event also at UFC 252.

Sean O’Malley went into Saturday’s fight with Marlon Vera as a heavy favourite. The previously undefeated ‘Suga Sean’ went into the fight following three bonus-winning performances in a row.

However, disaster struck for the bantamweight prospect leading to a first-round TKO loss. The first defeat of his professional career.

O’Malley looked to have received an ugly foot injury just seconds into the fight. Vera jumped at the opportunity, mounting the fallen O’Malley before landing some heavy ground and pound to finish the fight.

The fan-favourite was in clear distress following the fight and later exited the arena on a stretcher.

With O’Malley receiving a significant push so far in his career, despite getting a two-year ban in 2018, it is unclear where this first professional loss leaves him in the eyes of the UFC brass.

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