Daniel Cormier Vacates UFC Light Heavyweight Championship

MMA

Daniel Cormier is no longer UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.

The "Champ Champ," also the UFC Heavyweight Champion Cormier told ESPN Friday afternoon that he's relinquishing the 205 pound championship that he's technically held for three and a half years. 

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Cormier issued a statement to ESPN on the matter.

"Today I am going to relinquish the UFC light heavyweight title. I am not going to be stripped of the belt that I've defended with my all for three and a half years. Being stripped of a title suggests you've done something wrong, and I haven't. I'd rather walk away this way, with my head held high as it always has been, than have the history books say I was stripped. I've defended this title this year. I was approached with the idea of fighting at heavyweight, so I took it. I fought three times in 2018. No champion has been more active than me. I am the fighter of the year. My story and my legacy will not include me being stripped of a title. They can have it."

Cormier's troubled, longtime rival Jon Jones will take on Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC 232 on Saturday night, with the winner being crowned the new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Typically in situations like these, the UFC waits until the fight hits the cage and a winner is decided before stripping a previous champion of the title.

Turning 40 in March, Cormier has extended his desire to not continue fighting past that point. Cormier has been angling for a UFC Heavyweight Championship fight against a returning Brock Lesnar as his final fight. 

Cormier technically ends his reign as champion with four defenses, although one of those fights was originally a loss to Jones overturned due to a failed drug test. 

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