Daniel Cormier was the captain of the US Olympic wrestling team in 2008, but when a weight cut went awry, his kidneys shut down, and he was pulled from the event.
Then he entered MMA and won the XMMA Heavyweight Championship, the KOTC Heavyweight Championship, the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. He entered the UFC at heavyweight, but dropped to light heavy, and came up short vs. Jon Jones.
Then Jones imploded, was stripped of his belt, and Cormier won the vacated belt. But it was still the vacated belt. When Jones returned, beating OSP for the interim title (Cormier had pulled out with injury) he looked very beatable.
UFC 200 was Cormier chance to be the undisputed best in the world. And it was to have been his biggest payday.
And he is 37 years old.
When he stepped up to the podium Wednesday night to address Jones’s removal from the UFC 200 main event for a flagged PED test, he was heart broken.
The hardcore fanbase was shocked. Imagine how Daniel Cormier felt.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Cormier, as transcribed by Dave Doyle for MMA Fighting. “I worked really hard to prepare for this and, you know, take care of what you can take care of and that’s what I did. But more than anything, just really disappointed. … To hear something like this is very sad from a competitive standpoint from a financial standpoint, there are a number of ways this is disappointing. I really don’t know how to explain how I’m feeling right now.”
He hoped for a late replacement.
“I’ve trained hard and long, if anybody would fight [against me], I would fight,” Cormier said. “Why not? I understand the difficult task it would be on two days [notice]. I’d put some weight, you know, 225, 220, I’ll fight. But I can’t fight a really big guy right now because I’ve been shrinking my body to make 205. If it doesn’t make sense for the organization or for me, it doesn’t make sense. We have always been in tune, me and the UFC, and we made these decisions together.”
“I’m not a guy who likes to pile on to somebody, no matter who it is. USADA changes a lot of things. They are a great organization who is going to clean up our sport … the UFC didn’t have to do this, they decided to clean up this sport, so you’re going to have casualties. Jon deserves due process.”
“I have to move forward. This chapter in my life has been dragging me and dragging me and it’s made my ugly. I guess we’ll see what happens in his appeal process. Right now i’ve got to move forward and start to clear my mind of anything in regards to him.”
UFC president Dana White also addressed the possibility of a late replacement.
“We really gotta look and see who’s available, who’s willing,” said White. “What happens is, when news like this comes out, guys call [matchmaker] Joe Silva going ‘I will take that fight.’ That’s usually how it works.”
If a single thing comes from Jones’ debacle, let it be this – Daniel Cormier is the real UFC light heavyweight champion. He is the best in the world, undisputed.