Not that there was much doubt the fight was coming, but UFC officials on Saturday confirmed that Daniel Cormier would rematch Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 on Aug. 17 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Cormier had been planning on a monster payday in a bout with former UFC and WWE champion Brock Lesnar, but that all came crumbling down recently when UFC president Dana White said that Lesnar had instead opted to retire.
Why isn't Daniel Cormier fighting Brock Lesnar
Lesnar had gone through all the motions to make the bout possible. He re-entered the USADA testing pool and had been drug tested numerous times since the summer of 2018 and as recently as April. He also dropped the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania 35, which many insiders believed paved the way for Lesnar to fight Cormier.
Though it's only speculation, there is talk that the UFC's new pay-per-view deal on ESPN+ may have soured the deal with Lesnar. Typically, Lesnar would make a set fee for fighting and then earn a portion of the pay-per-view revenues, but with the UFC's U.S. pay-per-view offering shifting solely to the ESPN+ app, buys are expected to be less than optimal in the near term. So much so that the UFC gets a guarantee from ESPN in return for its exclusivity.
With pay-per-view buys expected to be lower, it is believed that Lesnar in turn asked for a guaranteed flat fee that was far greater than that which the UFC was comfortable.
UFC shifts to Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic 2
With the Lesnar bout off the table, the UFC shifted to Cormier fighting Miocic, which was quickly agreed to by both fighters.
Cormier took the belt from Miocic at UFC 226 on July 7, 2018. It was a victory that cemented him as one of the UFC's all-time greats and was the catalyst for the expected bout with Lesnar. He then went on to defend the belt against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 in November.
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Miocic hasn't fought since losing to Cormier and has wanted nothing more than to try and win the belt back. He'll get that opportunity when the two meet in the UFC 241 main event in August.