Daniel Cormier became only the second fighter in Ultimate Fighting Championship history behind Conor McGregor to hold two UFC titles simultaneously after his knockout of former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic last Saturday night at UFC 226.
Cormier’s win moved him into the “greatest-of-all-time” discussions with his comprehensive victory over arguably the best ever heavyweight ever to compete inside the Octagon.
While “DC” is now in the twilight of his career, the 39-year-old’s win on Saturday night capped off a remarkable turnaround considering it was barely a year ago when he was knocked out by his rival Jon Jones and his future in doubt.
Cormier was a guest on Monday’s “The MMA Hour” and talked about how much the win meant to him.
“It means everything, man,” Cormier said Monday on The MMA Hour. “For a guy who was almost, like, right on the cusp but never was able to push through, if you just keep trying, man, and just keep working, keep getting better, keep pushing for goal after goal after goal -- if you fail at something … just keep trying and keep giving yourself opportunities to do something special, and I did that and did that and did that, and eventually I got it done. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Cormier’s win over Miocic has set up a future bout against World Wrestling Entertainment superstar and former UFC heavyweight Brock Lesnar, who entered the Octagon after Cormier called him out. The two engaged in a minor scuffle which drew the ire of fans who believed the post-fight antics ruined the historical moment for Cormier. Cormier, however doesn’t agree with the comments.
“Not at all, it didn’t ruin my night,” Cormier said. “It made it even better. If not for anything, if I was a guy who just wanted that type of moment, that would’ve been OK, but how did it ruin my moment? When I won the belt the first time, the first thing I did was yell at Jon Jones to get his stuff together, set up my next fight. This fight with Brock Lesnar, I told him to get in the Octagon, and it set up my next fight. How did it ruin my moment? It doesn’t change the fact that I got to win the UFC heavyweight title. They’ve got this great image of me sitting on top of the cage floating around right now. I don’t understand how that would’ve ruined my moment.”
Cormier admitted he was taken back by just how strong the WWE super star was in their shoving match but is confident come the real fight he’ll have enough to beat him.
“He’s very strong,” Cormier said, laughing. “He pushed me and I went falling back, and then when he got close, I pushed him back but I barely moved him. I’m like, gosh, I should’ve pushed him so much harder. I was like, why would I push him so soft? Am I like kind of scared of Brock Lesnar? Like, why didn’t I push him a lot harder than I did? But he’s going to get his. He’s going to get his.”
Cormier’s record at heavyweight is flawless (14-0) and despite not fighting at that weight in five years, the former Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix winner said that he felt faster in the heavier division against the bigger guys crediting the fact he didn’t have to cut weight as he does fighting at light heavyweight.
“I felt like I was faster,” Cormier said, “because at 205, I think my speed, it doesn’t jump out at you as much because all of these guys that I fight are pretty fast. So I think I felt faster, I think I felt faster at heavyweight, and then just not having to do that weight cut, it makes such a big deal, man. That weight cut can really, really -- it can really brutalize you.
“[Without the weight cut] I was so excited, man,” Cormier added. “I was in the back trying to contain myself. Like, how do I stay the course and not put myself in the fight too early, because without having to worry about the weight management, now I have all this time to think about the fight, and I do a lot of visualization and stuff. So it’s like, when I visualize, I’m like, ‘Wow, I could go and just fight right now. I don’t have to cut any weight. How do I monitor myself and manage my energy in regards to the fight?’ I can’t get too excited, so I was really trying to peel myself back a lot. I was trying to peel myself back a lot when it came to thinking about the fight.”
While Cormier believes he could still physically and mentally fight for several more years, he reiterated his plan is to retire from MMA next March after his 40th birthday despite his success on Saturday night.
“You know what’s crazy? It’s just that, it’s the mountaintop, right?” Cormier said. “It’s like, man, I won the heavyweight championship of the world. I’m the UFC light heavyweight champion. How do you top that? And if I’ve got to be honest, I feel like I could fight until I’m 42 or 43 years old, but my family and I, we made a decision a long time ago on when I was going to be done, and I’m going to stick to that. So I’m not leaving because I can’t compete, obviously. I’m leaving because it’s something that we decided to do a while ago.”