2012 was the year that saw Daniel Cormier win the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix in dominant fashion over former UFC champion and veteran, Josh Barnett. September of last year was supposed to usher in the UFC debut of DC, against another former UFC champion, Frank Mir. Then injuries happened…twice…and the AKA standout was forced to sit on the sidelines until next Saturday, when he returns to his collegiate alma matter to appear for Strikeforce one last time, against the newest Blackzilian (and Alistair Overeem sparring partner), Dion Staring.
When you talk to Mr. Cormier, it is talking to one of the nicest guys in the world. He is very respectful of his fans, his opponents, and the MMA community as a whole. Where he is very nice, he is also very dangerous and could put anyone to sleep landing huge bombs or take them for a ride with an Olympic pedigreed takedown. At the end of the day, Fight Hub TV is grateful to talk to the nice guy, and not be on the receiving end of a power double.
We caught up with Cormier and got his thoughts on training partner (and good friend) Cain Velasquez re-capturing the UFC title, fighting for Strikeforce one last time, light heavyweight futures, and that Frank Mir fight he still really wants.
FHTV: Fight is next Saturday (January 12th), how is everything going for that?
Cormier: Everything is good, real good. I am in great shape and I am ready to go do this.
FHTV: Staring has that Dutch kickboxing background and spars with Alistair Overeem, does that intimidate you for striking with him at all?
Cormier: I am not intimidated; it is something that I need to be very aware of. So intimidation no, I’m very aware of it. I am respectful of it. I respect every guy, anyone who enters the cage to fight, I respect them. As guys climb ladders and get into positions where they are in this sport, you have to respect what gets them there; for him, his kickboxing is something I am aware of and respect him for it.
FHTV: Looking back on UFC 155, congrats to Cain and his big win. When you come into the UFC, will you remain at heavyweight or will you drop down?
Cormier: Well, right now, Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen are fighting on April 27th. If I come out of this fight un-injured and victorious, I will take a little bit of time to chill and then get back into training for my next fight. When I come in, I am going to stay at heavyweight and I really want to fight Frank Mir. That is the fight I want.
FHTV: You were both originally scheduled to fight in September of last year. When would you like this future bout to occur?
Cormier: I would love for it to be on the FOX show here in San Jose. April 20th, fight Frank Mir, on FOX, have it be a free broadcast and that will help expose me and get more fans behind me who may not know me. That is what I want right now. That is the fight I have trained for, and would be excited to train for it again; Mir wants the fight, I think it would be a great fight. It’s like we are doing Joe Silva’s job for him.
FHTV: Watching Dos Santos beat Mir, and then training with Cain who beat Dos Santos; where do you see holes in Mir’s game that you think you could beat him at?
Cormier: I watched the Mir – Dos Santos fight as a fan in the crowd, so live, I did not see it that good. When I came home and watched it, he didn’t do that bad really. I think JDS beat him where he was supposed to and maybe if Mir had pressured a little more he could have done better. The thing about Mir is, there are no secrets in his game, and I think he is very good all around. I respect Frank a ton for what he has done and what he has come back from over his career.
FHTV: Your other good friend Todd Duffee saw victory at UFC 155. How does that make you feel as their friend and as a fan?
Cormier: It was awesome, getting a knockout and a bonus for it, it was a win-win all around for him. I think he is back where he rightfully belongs, fighting in the UFC. It was great to see.
FHTV: What is your opinion as fighters not fighting each other, like you and Cain?
Cormier: well, with Rashad and Jon, he (Rashad) made that mistake by opening himself up to Jon, knowing that would be someone he may have to fight one day. Then you take guys like, GSP and Carlos Condit who both trained under Jackson’s but completely separated themselves from each other, so it was not an issue when they fought. If anything, I think GSP lost a great training partner. For us, we set that boundary early, and it has never been an idea for us to fight. When I started fighting, I was successful in wrestling; Cain was already a top ten heavyweight in the world, so when we started working together, he never once saw me as a threat or future opponent given our rankings at the time. So I can go in there and help Cain work on his wrestling, he can help me with my stand up and BJJ and make ourselves better fighters and be better friends because we know that it won’t happen.
FHTV: Were you surprised at how dominant Cain was over Junior?
Cormier: NO. I knew that if the fight went long, Junior was going to get hurt and you saw what happened. Junior needed to finish the fight early and not let Cain do his thing. Junior was unable to stop that wrestling grind that Cain put on him. Fighting a wrestler who is used to that pace, that grind and grueling fight, it is not something you can just say “ok, I am gonna learn this at 25, 26 years old and be good at it”. It is something you have to be doing since you were ten, all the time and always do it to defend it.
FHTV: JDS says he wants and feels he deserves an immediate rematch. Do you feel that is warranted for JDS?
Cormier: I mean right now who else is there realistically? Besides Overeem if he can get past Antonio Silva, who else is there? Werdum? Werdum is fighting Big Nog and that’s not until the summertime, so there really isn’t anybody. You get to the point beyond JDS right now, that you are recycling guys to fight for the belt. If Silva beats Overeem, does he get a shot against Cain? He would be going 2-2 in his last four fights and was absolutely destroyed by myself and Cain, so would it be fair to put him in against Cain? It’s a tough situation, you know? I think it’s who deserves it the most
FHTV: Fighting in Oklahoma next weekend will be the first time you have fought there since 2009; do you feel like your career is full circle?
Cormier: Absolutely. First show with Strikeforce was in Tulsa, OK in 2009 and I went in 0-0. Now I am going in there, 10-0, one of the better fighters in my divisions and it does feel full circle, but that does not mean anything – I need to go in there to take care of business.
FHTV: Does it put more emotional pressure on you?
Cormier: Not at all, I have wrestled in front of my family many times. I wrestled in front of them at the Olympics and it does not get any bigger than that.
FHTV: How were the holidays for you?
Cormier: It was great. Had a great holiday for the Cormier family, with my girlfriend, my daughter, and with my son. We had a great Christmas.
FHTV: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us as always, Mr. Cormier
Cormier: Thank you for talking to me and stay in touch!