Daniel Cormier Plans Wrestling Centred Approach For Final UFC Fight

Daniel Cormier is the proud owner of one of the most impressive resumes in combat sports history.

The 41 year old Louisiana native went 15-0 at the start of his long MMA career and has gone on to hold belts at light heavyweight and heavyweight in the UFC. Given these exceptional credentials and long-time main event status, it’s easy to forget that Cormier’s journey started over 20 years ago as one of America’s premier wrestlers.

Cormier first tasted success at Oklahoma State University, where he quickly became an All American freestyle wrestler. Before joining the USA national squad for the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. It was during this period that he befriended Mohammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal.

‘King Mo’ made a successful transition to MMA in 2008 after realising that his wrestling dreams were over. He went on to become a Strikeforce world champion and invited Cormier to join him in his martial arts journey.

Speaking to Kerry McCoy for USA Wrestling (as transcribed by MMA Fighting), Cormier opened up on how ‘King Mo’ encouraged him to make the switch from wrestling to MMA.

“’King Mo’ started fighting right after he lost to Andy Hrovat. He went and he fought in Japan and made $50,000. I was like ‘What?’ and he went and bought a Cadillac and put like ostrich seats in it. ‘King Mo’s’ ridiculous. Mo bought a Cadillac with ostrich-skin seats and they had ‘King Mo’ crowns in the seats. Now $50 grand doesn’t get you that much but he must have spent all of it.

“It was amazing that he had made that much money and he kept calling me about fighting and saying this was something that I could do. I was like okay, I’ll give it a shot.”

Cormier fully credits wrestling for the amazing opportunities he’s experienced in his life.

“Wrestling has meant everything to me,” Cormier said. “It’s given me everything. Without the sport, I’d still be in Louisiana somewhere. I wouldn’t have gone to school and got an education. I wouldn’t have gone to fight in the UFC and had all these opportunities at FOX Sports and now ESPN and everything else. It’s all because of wrestling.”

With 11 years of experience and 24 professional MMA fights behind him, Cormier is looking to enter the final training camp of his career. If the coronavirus situation improves in time, ‘DC’ will take on the current champion Stipe Miocic, to complete a thrilling trilogy of heavyweight bouts.

Fighting out of American Kickboxing Academy, Cormier is fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the world’s best coaching staff. However, for his twilight fight, DC has drafted in a variety of wrestling talent. Including fellow former Olympian, Kerry McCoy.

“I’ve got to get back to wrestling,” Cormier said. “I’ve got to get back to guys like you Kerry, who are actually going to be able to tell me that ain’t enough. I have Bob [Cook] and my coaches do but I need to have that. Like Jamill [Kelly], when I was making 205 [pounds], Jamill would come and do the weight cuts with me. It wasn’t enough, he’d say that ain’t enough. Shawn Bunch does my weight cuts with me and if he thinks ”DC’, you gotta get back in there a little bit before we go home, you’ve got to do that.’

“But you’ve got to have those guys that knew you before all the fame, all the money and all the attention to really put you in your place. I think you know me in a way and I’m wrestling and I’m not doing enough, you’re going to tell me I’m not doing enough. I’m putting together a great camp for this last fight and I can’t wait to get ready.”

Going out on top as the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion would be the perfect ending to a legendary fighting career.

“I’m going to fight Stipe Miocic one last time and then I’m going to be done with this whole thing,” Cormier said. “I love this sport. I’m a competitive guy. Getting away from competition is going to be tough but I know that to win the heavyweight championship again is the right way to go out.

“Stipe and I have a fantastic trilogy. He’s a wrestler himself. Very respectful guy. Firefighter. Tough guy. But I need to be the champion as I’m done with this thing.”

No venue or date has been set for the trilogy fight yet but Cormier is hoping it goes down at the end of the summer.

“The fight is going to fall at a perfect time to where when I’m done, I can get right back to the kids at Gilroy High School and the wrestling team and starting to try to go and chase down that state championship.”

Win, lose or draw, nobody can deny the impact that Daniel Cormier has had on the sport and we can be certain that his career with the UFC will continue long into the future, thanks to his fantastic work as an analyst and commentator.


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