A slim and trim Daniel Cormier infused drama into Thursday’s UFC 170 press conference when he shoved opponent Patrick Cummins during a photo shoot.
Cummins was named as a replacement for Rashad Evans, who injured his knee in training. The fight may have been a dull replacement, but Cummins, a two-time All-American NCAA Division 1 wrestler brought up how he once made Cormier cry during wrestling training.
He later said that Cormier, 13-0, was mentally weak for not making weight in the 2008 Olympics. Cormier suffered kidney failure after cutting weight.
At Thursday’s press conference, Cormier looked thin and in shape. He said he weighed 209 pounds and will cut weight to make the 205 weight limit by tomorrow. Cormier said dropping from 220 pounds was not that tough.
“I didn’t have salad my entire life until this training camp,” Cormier said at the press conference. “I grew up in Louisiana. There’s red beans and rice and Popeye’s on every corner. I am 34 years old and I never touched a salad in my entire life. I had a few salads and I just started losing weight.”
Cormier wasn’t his typical quiet self during the press conference. He was serious-faced and angry.
“Every training partner I had could beat Patrick Cummins, so I should be OK,” Cormier said.
Cormier, however, said he wasn’t going to discount the guy inside the cage.
“I know the guy can compete,” Cormier said. “I know he’s dangerous. I have seen him for a long time. “I respect the guy. He annoys me, but I respect the guy. I can’t wait to fight against him.”
UFC President Dana White has signed Cummins to a multi-fight deal. Cummins was working at a coffee shop when he got the call about the fight. His manager fired him for talking on the phone.
White said he appreciates Cummins for stepping up and fighting Cormier on 10 days’ notice.
“This is the real ‘Rocky’ story right here,” White said.