Daniel Cormier’s Career draws To A Close
I don’t mean to point out the obvious here, but Daniel Cromeir is a fighter. There no two ways about it, the man is a tried and tested individual who has been through the wringer. And come out the other side as one of the most respected competitors in combat sports. Cormier has built his legacy on accomplishment after accomplishment, with very few in any sport being able to match his long list of achievements and diverse resume.
But it is perhaps his life experiences outside of sport which has given him an unrelenting desire to overcome the odds. trials and tribulations that have been very well documented. Having lost his father at the age of seven, shot to death by the father of his second wife.
Daniel dedicated his youth to the sport of wrestling which played an integral part in the direction his life would take. And with a plethora of achievements spread through his school and college years. Winner of three Louisiana state championships, he would also excel in football being offered a scholarship which he turned down to follow his true love wrestling.
An All American from Oklahoma State, Cormier would go on to forge a highly successful career in Freestyle wrestling. Becoming the senior U.S. National championships in every year he competed from 2003 – 2008, representing the USA at International level for the same period.
In the non-Olympic years, Cormier reached the top 5 at the Wrestling World Championships in both 2003 and 2007.
While competing in the 2004 Olympics he would finish in fourth place, moving on to be named captain for the following 2008 games. Only for a weigh-cutting complication to crush his Olympic dreams and force him out of competition.
And it was during this extraordinary time in Cormier’s life, experiencing so much of his success had all been ignited by a very dark and traumatic event. When in June 14th 2003 he had lost his new baby daughter. An incident that further fuelled the resolve of the future UFC Hall of Famer to hunt down his dreams with a vengeance.
The MMA Years
After the shattering event at the 2008 Olympics, Cormier would go on to follow in the footsteps of other fellow wrestlers and made the switch to mixed martial arts. Joining the American kickboxing academy, he would make is successful professional debut in September 2009.
Wasting no time in challenging for a title with smaller promotions, DC won the XMMA heavyweight championship in just his third fight. Quickly adding yet another two weeks later when he won the King of the cage title.
It was a flying start for the newly minted MMA fighter who now on a newly signed eight-fight deal with Strikeforce would begin to show glimpses of future greatness inside the cage. Entering the heavyweight tournament, the undersized and less experienced Cormier would none the less go on to knock out the much bigger Antonio Bigfoot Silva in the first round.
Matching up against the formidable veteran Josh Barnett in the final. DC dominated the former UFC champion from buzzer to buzzer, winning the bout by unanimous decision. Making Cormier a champion across three organisations with just ten professional fights to his name.
Signing With The UFC
Now I don’t know about you, but I definitely felt there was some animosity toward DC when he signed with the UFC. Fight fans can be a fickle bunch, quite clannish, and with his move from Strikeforce, it certainly felt as though UFC fans were not quite ready to accept the new blow in.
On top of that, the UFC matched him against the former division champion Frank Mir who he was previously scheduled to face in Strikeforce in a fight that fell through. So no easy fights to allow Cormier any time to acclimatise to the big league, but did he need it?
You always got the feeling with Daniel Cormier that the bigger the challenge, the more he savoured the opportunity to show what he could do. And with two decision wins over two fighters to which UFC fans thought he would lose. Followed by a drubbing of the barista turned MMA fighter, ex training partner turned gym snitch Patrick Cummins. Cormier was looking more and more like potential UFC championship material.
For many at UFC 173, DC turned the corner when he manhandled the always dangerous Dan Henderson. Making the former Pride and Strikeforce champion look like a gimme fight. But it was now time for the real test as the undefeated Cormier was matched against the division champion Jon Jones at UFC178. But a pre-fight brawl followed by a Jones leg injury scuppered the highly anticipated title fight.
In what would become one of the most contentious rivalries in all MMA. Jones vs Cormier would not take place until UFC 182 when the pair would eventually square off.
And with the pre-fight rhetoric, both on and off mic working fans into a frenzy. Many were wondering would Daniel Cormier be the guy to finally bring to an end the most dominant light heavyweight reign in UFC history?
Well, while the fight was hard-fought, the answer to that would be no. As it was Jon Jones who would once again have his hand raised in victory, as a dejected and despondent Cormier struggled to find any positives in the loss definitive loss to his now nemesis. But in true DC style, the quickest way to reclimb the mountain was to once again stake his claim gains the next bets in the division.
And at UFC 187 his chance came, with the champion being stripped of his title the opportunity arose for Daniel to face Anthony Johnson for the now vacant belt. In a fight where Johnson had his moments, the third round would see Cormier get the back mount and force AJ to tap out to a rear-naked choke.
He had now fulfilled his dream of becoming a UFC champion, all be it under somewhat dubious circumstances. With Jones now out of the picture, DC was free to run wild and dominate all comers. Including the man who had previously push Jon Jones to the limits, Alexander Gustafsson.
Followed by what he called the easiest fight of his career in pound for pound great Anderson Silva. Who had stepped in on just two days notice after Jon Jones failed a pre-fight drugs test.
Why The Hate?
Cormier went through a weird period where there was a strange animosity from some fans. A certain air of disregard for his championship, while they lauded a proven cheat in the now-suspended Jon Jones.
Then at UFC 210, Anthony Johnson came back for the second bite of the cherry, only to be finished in an almost mirror image of their first encounter. Daniel Cormier looked unbeatable, but one name still remained, one feather in his cap to trump all others in Jon Jones. The guy who kept him up and night, and the man who many believed DC had to face before he could be truly considered undisputed.
And so at UFC 214, that chance once again came his way as Jones reentered the picture to challenge for what he believed was his belt.
Cormier vs JONES 2
The champion Daniel Cormier would look to right the wrong from their previous encounter. Proving to all the world, and most importantly himself that he was the best fighter on the planet at 205 lbs. And in a hard-fought first two rounds, the fight looked like it could go either way. But all of that was inconsequential as in the third, Jones landed a crushing shin to the head of Cormier. Sending him reeling backwards, as Jon followed up with a beautiful trip and series of punches to the now grounded Cormier.
On this night Daniel’s demon’s were not to be dispelled as he once again fell foul to the fighter that always seemed just one step ahead. Appearing on the surface to be as devastating a loss as Cormier had ever experienced. When asked about their rivalry in the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, an inconsolable now former champion replied;
“If he won both fights, I guess there is no rivalry.”Daniel Cormier UFC 214
But if the fight itself had ended in shocking fashion. The post-fight news which quicky emerged appeared even more dramatic. As Jon Jones failed both pre and post-fight tests for performance-enhancing drugs. Making the fight an official no contest, with Daniel Cormier once again being reinstated as the UFC light heavyweight champion.
DC would once again go on to defend his title with a definitive stoppage over rising star Volkan Oezdemir. Before finally confirming a decision he had been playing with for some time and a move back up to heavyweight. The division in which he had dominated before making his debut with the UFC.
But Cormier had stepped away from pursuing his heavyweight career so that his friend and teammate Cain Velasquez had every opportunity to dominate. Showing his quality of character and just how important to him the success of others was within his inner circle.
DC Back At Heavyweight
Still the light heavyweight champion, Cormier would face off against the most dominant heavyweight the UFC had known in Cleveland’s own Stipe Miocic. Undersized and untested at the heavier weight class now for five years and nine fights. Most pundits had the champion dominating the challenger and sending him packing back to 205 lbs.
But yet again, where the challenge is greatest, you will find people such as Daniel Cormier. Unwavering in self-belief, his feeling was that with his previous success at the weight. He could take out the bigger man and achieve his dream of becoming a two-division champion. Making him only the second fighter in UFC history to hold two belts consecutively. And he did exactly just that!
But it was a loss which didn’t sit well with Stipe Miocic, the most dominant heavyweight the UFC had known. Who saught to quickly get his rematch and prove his loss to Cormier was a fluke.
However, it was it would be a protracted wait as DC who was now waiting for a Brock Lesnar megafight. Instead chose to face Derrick Lewis, before offering the former champion his inevitable second chance.
A chance that he grabbed with both hands when the pair met at UFC 241. In a fight where once again Daniel Cormier was dominating, a change in tactics saw Stipe bring the champion down with a series of liver shots that turned the tide. Swapped the belt back to its original holder and lined up a trilogy fight to bring the final curtain down for one of the sports greatest careers.
His Trilogy with Stipe Miocic
As on August 15th 2020, Miocic and Cormier will once again take their position inside the UFC octagon. It won’t just be the final fight in this epic trilogy, but the end for one of the most iconic athletes the sport has known. From a world champion wrestler and Olympian to a world champion in mixed martial arts across multiple organisations.
The fighter who stepped away from an undefeated career at heavyweight, so his friend and teammate could chase his dreams. The UFC light heavyweight champion, UFC heavyweight champion. Given his size and frame, a fighter who achieved what he was not supposed to achieve.
A team captain at AKA, the wrestling coach at Gilroy High, a father, a friend, a fighter. Daniel Cormier will forever be remembered as one of the combat sports greatest. And now lies ahead yet another successful career, this time behind the mic as one of the best in the business. A man with truly no limits.
Now, he has just one job left to do before he finally lays his gloves to rest in the centre of the octagon. Will he be successful in topping off his historic career with a definitive win at UFC 252. It is, of course, the most delicious of challenges for this natural-born fighter. And who would bet against him?
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