ANAHEIM, Calif. — Perhaps there’s real animosity brewing between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic heading into their heavyweight title rematch at UFC 241.

Perhaps Cormier (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC), who only has so many chances left to make big pay-per-view bucks at age 40 and is also a well known pro wrestling fan, feels the need to drum up drama with Miocic (18-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC), a fighter who is immune to hype.

Or maybe UFC corporate partner ESPN, which profits off the company’s pay-per-views, felt the need to build a grudge storyline into a recent edition of their show “Destined” in order to push more purchases.

Wherever the truth might lie, the notion there’s beef between Cormier and Miocic turned into a topic at the UFC 241 open workouts on Wednesday at Honda Center.

And in response to comments made on the “Destined” show, the defending champion said he couldn’t care less what Miocic thinks heading into their main-event rematch.

“I couldn’t give two (expletives) about his feelings,” Cormier told reporters, including MMA Junkie, following his workout. “I was watching something called ‘Destined’ today, and he said, ‘I get so upset thinking about it, it just pisses me off.’ Then I think his wife said when people talk trash, it just makes it worse for him. Well, the thing about our job is we get to punch each other in the face, so I’m gonna keep talking, or he can shut me up.”

Cormier and Miocic were friendly during the months-long build-up to their first fight last year at UFC 226. But Cormier knocked out Miocic in the opening round when they stepped in the cage, which marked the end of the only UFC heavyweight title reign that featured three consecutive successful title defenses. 

And as Cormier sees it, something like that will change your attitude in a hurry, thus Miocic’s frosty attitude this time around.

“He has changed after the loss,” Cormier said. “I think as an opponent it would be tough to spend six weeks with me anyways. I’m not saying I’m pleasant to be around, especially when I’m digging at you constantly. But I think he can deal with it the first time because of the idea he was going to win. But I think when you lose the fight it becomes more difficult, so that’s why you see him so pissed off at me.”

If Miocic is supposed to be playing the role of a ticked-off monster, though, it appeared the memo never made it to his inbox. Miocic was his usual affable self during his post-workout interview with reporters on Wednesday, and he swatted aside the notion the rematch is anything but business.

“I have no feelings toward him either way,” Miocic said. “He needs to get out of high school and turn the page, honestly. He’s just, I don’t know what his deal is about my feelings. I just said I want a rematch. The dude literally cried on national TV, but whatever.”

“I don’t know if he’s trying to build up that he’s pissed off at me to make me something I’m not, but whatever,” Miocic added.

Either way, Miocic said he’s not going to lose any sleep over Cormier’s comments. 

“It is what it is, man. We’re here to fight,” Miocic said. “I’m not here to make friends.”

UFC 241 takes place Saturday at Honda Center. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.

For more from Cormier and Miocic, watch the video above. You can also check out their full scrums below.

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