Though all signs were pointing to Daniel Cormer returning to the Octagon to put his UFC heavyweight title on the line in a blockbuster bout with former WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar in August, UFC president Dana White on Friday insisted it's not even on the radar.
"Seriously, that fight isn't even in the works. That might not even happen first (for Cormier)," White said during Friday's seasonal press conference in Atlanta amidst a chorus of boos. "That's what Cormier said too."
Where did the idea of Daniel Cormier vs. Brock Lesnar come from?
The idea of a fight between Cormier and Lesnar was birthed at UFC 226 after Cormier knocked out Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 in July 2018. After the fight, Cormier called out Lesnar, who was in attendance cageside. The two had words with each other in the Octagon and then Lesnar shoved Cormier.
While Lesnar is a former UFC heavyweight champion, he has fought just one time since 2011. That was initially a win over Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in July 2016, but the result was later overturned after Lesnar tested positive for a banned substance.
Though he's not earned a shot at the belt, the UFC is willing to make an exception for him as Lesnar has such immense drawing power that he would not only produce a huge payday for Cormier, but also pad the UFC's bottom line.
Still, why is the fight with Lesnar seemingly MIA after chatter about the fight recently heated up?
"Nothing happened, we haven't even talked to Brock," said White. "I don't know if he'll fight again, but we don't have a date for him right now. First fight (for Cormier) might be Stipe.
"Nothing happened (with Lesnar). That was what we wanted to do, but Brock and I haven't even talked. Like I've said many times, when Brock Lesnar is ready, he'll call me."
Why hasn't the UFC booked Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic?
With Lesnar apparently mired under a shroud of secrecy, why then hasn't the UFC lined Cormier up with Miocic, as White said that is likely his next fight?
"We've gotta wait for Cormier. Cormier went back in the gym I think two weeks ago and did a light workout. He's still not healthy. So as soon as he's healthy to fight, we can make a decision on when we can do him and if it's Stipe."
In the meantime, the UFC heavyweight championship remains in limbo. While other divisions are moving on with interim titles, the UFC is giving Cormier a bit more time to heal.
Miocic wasn't his most recent fight though. Cormier fought Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 in November 2018, where he submitted his first heavyweight challenger. Now going on six months without having booked his next fight, Cormier may soon get locked into his next defense being against an interim champion if he can't get a fight on the schedule.