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Daniel Cormier says he won't need surgery for cornea torn in Stipe Miocic fight

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What does Cormier's loss to Stipe mean for his legacy? (1:18)

Ariel Helwani explains what Daniel Cormier's UFC legacy will be following his retirement claims after losing his heavyweight title fight against Stipe Miocic. (1:18)

Daniel Cormier said Monday that he won't need surgery for the torn cornea he suffered in his Aug. 15 unanimous-decision loss to Stipe Miocic, which Cormier agreed was the right call by the judges.

Miocic inadvertently poked Cormier in his left eye during the third round, but Cormier was able to finish the five-round heavyweight championship fight, after which the former two-division champion retired.

"The first week and a half, [the eye] was really bad, it wasn't opening, and it was completely blurry, but now it kind of feels like an eyelash is in it," Cormier said on ESPN's DC & Helwani Show in his first extended interview since the fight. "I went and saw the doctor last week, and he told me I'm probably not going to have to have surgery, just kind of rest and recover. And today it feels good, but just feels like something in there, you know when you get an eyelash and can't get it out? It's just right in the corner.

"It was concerning initially, because they didn't know how severe the impact was going to be going forward. They didn't know if I was going to have to have surgery and do all these other things. Luckily I was able to recover, and I feel better, and I prefer not to have surgery."

Cormier did not use the injury as an excuse.

"I thought Stipe fought a good fight. I thought him and his team had a great game plan to fight," Cormier said. "I thought he won the fight. He did a good job and he deserved to have his hand raised."

Eye pokes were a theme of the trilogy between the heavyweights. Miocic underwent a surgical procedure after being poked in the eye in his win over Cormier on Aug. 17, 2019. And Cormier again accidentally poked him in the eye in the first round of their most recent bout.

"Things happen. He made a mistake," Cormier said. "I don't think he tried to do it on purpose. It is what it is. We're fighting with four-ounce gloves that don't have finger covers. I harbor no bad feelings.

"In the first round I was almost sad, like God dang it, this again. You don't want that stigma of being a dirty fighter, that's one thing I'm not. I'm not poking this guy in his eyes on purpose. Unfortunately it's the gloves that we fight with."

UFC president Dana White said Miocic's next defense will come against No. 1 contender Francis Ngannou. Miocic won a unanimous-decision over Ngannou on Jan. 20, 2018, but Cormier expects the rematch to be different. Ngannou has knocked out his past four opponents in the first round.

"I think Francis wins the title next time," Cormier said. "Unless Stipe takes a lot of time off to let his ... head recover a little bit. Unless he takes a long time, the next time he fights he's going to get knocked out. Over the last three years, we've done a ton of damage to each other. We've fought 10 rounds in total. It's been frickin' crazy fights, like wars. He's taken damage, I've taken damage. It would be difficult for either of us to go fight a Francis Ngannou and not run the risk of getting put to sleep."

Cormier said he wouldn't envision Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight and knocking out Miocic, but he said, "I think Francis does knock him out."

As for his own future, Cormier said the business meetings have begun as he transitions from being a fighter. But he knows there always will be skeptics questioning whether he'll get the itch to return.

"I feel like I'm closing the door shut on this thing," he said. "I got a text message yesterday from [my assistant] asking me if I'm getting out of the USADA testing pool, and I told her yeah, I just haven't told them yet. I feel when you do that, you're pretty certain of your decision. ...

"Yeah, it's over. And I'm not sad about it. I'm going to miss it, I'm going to miss the training camps, I'm going to miss the fights, there's nothing like a fight week, but you have to understand when it's your time. I feel it's time."