Javier Mendez has admitted that Daniel Cormier was ‘never the same’ after his back surgery.
Mendez is the longtime head coach of Daniel Cormier. He helped DC through some of the biggest fights of his career. Apart from Cormier, Mendez has also coached several other UFC champions such as Cain Velasquez, Luke Rockhold, and Khabib Nurmagomedov at the world-famous American Kickboxing Academy (AKA).
Javier Mendez recently appeared on The Schmozone Podcast and opened up on several intriguing topics. Addressing the recent comments made by Daniel Cormier whereby Cormier revealed that he had slowed down after undergoing back surgery, Javier Mendez stated:
“Well, you know, being that we’ve been in touch with DC, we’ve seen him, monitoring his progress and his decline a little bit. One hundred percent after the (back) surgery, he was never the same – Surgery and age. In all fairness, we still felt he was good enough to maintain that (UFC heavyweight) title. We still felt he could have still kept that title, but we knew he slowed down. One hundred percent; we knew he wasn’t the same.”
“We see him day in and day out, we know what he’s all about. We know what he could do, and we knew that he lost a step. Yes, he hundred percent did. Now, was it due to the back injury? Partially. Was it due to age? Partially. So, I say a combination of both. You know, it’s like everybody says – The older you get, the slower you get, you know. And the one thing that doesn’t leave is the power, but we felt he was still good enough to retain the title. But we definitely saw him never the same after the back surgery. And age slowed him down, for sure; one hundred percent.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)
In a nutshell, Javier Mendez suggested that it was both age (Daniel Cormier was 41 at the time of his retirement fight in August 2020) and the back surgery that adversely affected Cormier’s performances inside the octagon.
Daniel Cormier competed only twice after the back surgery
Following his win over Derrick Lewis in November 2018, Daniel Cormier underwent back surgery. Cormier competed in only a couple of MMA fights since then.
DC lost via fourth-round TKO to Stipe Miocic in August 2019, and he then lost via unanimous decision in the trilogy matchup against Miocic in August 2020. Daniel Cormier retired after that, and he’s now working as an analyst and commentator for the UFC.