It’s long been a fairy tale of butterflies and gut-checks when stepping into the Octagon for the first time, but how could Daniel Cormier, a guy who went to Beijing for the Olympics and wrestled at the highest global level ever get nervous before a fight? Well, he did. Dana White always says the “Octagon jitters” are a real thing, and Daniel Cormier admitted that there’s truth behing them, even though he didn’t think he would get nervous in his UFC debut against Frank Mir.
Cormier stepped into the Shark tank in San Jose and basically dominated Mir, but even that wasn’t enough for him. The Olympian sat down with MMA Junkie after the fight to discuss his impressive win, and how he could’ve done better.
“I’ve had a very long athletic career, and I’ve competed at the highest levels of all my sports,” “I always kind of laughed at Dana when he said there were jitters and nerves that come with this.
“But man, I was nervous. I felt so nervous. It’s almost like you want it so bad and you want to do so well, and then you just kind of lay an egg a little bit. I didn’t fight the fight I wanted to.”
“More than anything, I felt tired, and I’ve never gotten tired. Usually I’m in a fight, and I feel great. I can go long. But in this fight, for some reason, I was tired, and I think it was my nerves. I was very nervous in the back.
“I felt like my legs were kind of weird. But I went in there and fought, and I fought as well as I could. It wasn’t ideal, but if you can feel bad and beat a guy who’s a two-time champion, there’s got to be some positives in that.”
But now, with a win over former champion Frank Mir, does Cormier get in line to take down, one, maybe two more contenders until he respectfully backs away from his teammate and friend Cain Velasquez’s title? Or will he make the move to 205, where he’s previously called out Bones Jones?
“I had been cutting weight for a really long time,” “I think I started when I was 13, but I was doing it the wrong way. I put (a plastic sweatsuit) on a week before I weighed in, and I would just start sucking out that water. … Your body can only take so much. I was beating it down every time. It was very scary.”
“Physically, I’m different now. At my heaviest, I was 264 pounds. I was consistently weighing in for fights at 250 pounds, and that was after training camps. I was losing seven, eight pounds and being 250 pounds at weigh-ins. Now, I wake up in the morning, and I’m 234 pounds. That’s almost a 20-pound difference. Now it seems realistic. I’m lighter now than even when I was wrestling.”
So with that said, what is Cormier going to do about light heavyweight?
“It’s really going to be a team decision,” “We need to get together with the UFC and the management team and everyone else and figure out what the next step is. Me personally, even if they said you’re going to fight Cain Velasquez next, I don’t think tonight’s performance warranted a title shot.”
“I want to do it healthy. I don’t want to die.”
We don’t want anything bad to happen to Cormier either, but both he and Cain have said they won’t fight each other, so something needs to give.