Strikeforce has struck out twice this year with shows cancelled on both September 29th and most recently November 3rd. Daniel Cormier (10-0, MMA) was supposed to headline the latter fight card. With only one fight remaining on his contract with the organization, Daniel’s determined to make an appearance on the next Strikeforce fight card planned for January 2013. On that card, he’s aiming to fight Frank Mir as originally planned.
When Cormier joined MMA Fight Corner Wednesday night, he said he’s had some time to absorb the inital shock of the fight card’s cancellation and is trying to look ahead. “It was pretty upsetting. I’d been through a full training camp.” Cormier explained. “That was upsetting and honestly losing Frank Mir before was upsetting. But I’ve kind of gotten over it now, I’m just moving forward and ready for what’s next.”
Prior to the card being cancelled, Cormier was still hanging in limbo over who he’d fight after his initial opponent, Frank Mir, withdrew due to injury. Even with 3 weeks to go leading up to the fight and no set opponent, Cormier said he would have been ready to fight anyone.
“I’m of the belief that if I do everything that I’m supposed to do the correct way, on fight night, most times, it won’t matter who they put in front of me. So if I train the right way, have the right mindset and do everything the right way heading into a fight, then the majority of the time, it’ll take care of it itself. It’s just like wrestling. If you do what you’re supposed to do in training camp, when it’s time to step on the mat, it does not matter who wrestles and who wins. So, I’ve taken the same mindset into fighting. I probably would have actually just went right in the fight. A guy could have just shown up in Oklahoma City.”
As for the next Strikeforce card that’s promised to be stacked and happen in January 2013, Cormier hopes to have a place on it. “Strikeforce, with the guys that they have, they still have ability to put on a really, really big fight card. If you throw Rockhold on there, myself, Gilbert Melendez, Nate Marquardt, I mean that’s a quality fight card. If they’re going to put even two of those four guys on the card, I think it makes it a pretty solid card.”
If Cormier will in fact fight on the card isn’t for sure yet, but he’s made his case with the organization to be on it. “I’ve asked and I’ve made it known so far that I’d would really appreciate it if I fought on that card. You know, it’s time for me to get this fight in, finish up this contract and move over and start the next phase of my career.” If Cormier fights on that card, he wants to face his original opponent, UFC Heavyweight Frank Mir.
“My hope is that with two months to heal, you gotta remember Frank pulled out of that fight in September – if we were going to fight in January…that’s five months to heal before the actual fight. Three months say, he’s injured and two months later he can train. That still gives him two months to get into a good fight camp. Even if he’s not ready to start training by December 1st, if we fight in the second week of January that gives him six weeks. That gives him plenty of time.”
Just days before the Strikeforce cancellation and prior to The Ultimate Fighter’s (TUF) coaches were announced, Cormier said on Sherdog’s Beatdown that he’d be interested in coaching TUF opposite UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Jon Jones. He thought it’d be a great way for him to be introduced into the UFC.
It was made official Monday night by the UFC that Jones would coach opposite Chael Sonnen in season 17 of the series and defend his belt in April against him. Just days prior to that announcement, Jones dogged the former Olympic wrestler’s challenge in an interview with ESPN.
Jones said in that interview: “As far as Daniel Cormier saying he wants to coach against me, he would want that wouldn’t he?…He’s relatively unknown, I want to do it when the fans are aware of both guys, and when it’s spunky and when it raises a lot of viewers. I’m not here to raise his stock.”
Cormier admitted he knew the chance that he would actually get the opportunity would be slim. However, with the expectation that he’d join the UFC following his last fight in Strikeforce and that he’d be a capable fighter at either heavyweight or 205, maybe it wasn’t that far fetched. After all, he stunned the Strikeforce world coming in to their Heavyweight Grand Prix as an alternate and wound up winning the tournament. Cormier also remains undefeated thus far in MMA.
Cormier weighed in on Jones and Sonnen coaching TUF 17 and what Jones had to say about him.
“It was kind of a deal where they just went with what they felt was the best option I guess. I was a little disappointed because I was hoping to get that. But honestly, that’s kind of wishful for me. I haven’t even fought in that division before. I’ve haven’t fought in the UFC. So to get a big gig like coaching on The Ultimate Fighter would have been huge. So, it was kind of a long shot for me,” Cormier said.
“In terms of the importance and the significance of a fight getting made between Chael and Jon, I’m not the guy that should be upset. It’s the guys in his weight division that have been fighting and winning that should have an issue with Chael Sonnen kind of jumping them. But what it does realistically, is show me that I really don’t have to fight at 205 and just get a title shot if I keep winning.”
As for why Jones would say that Cormier was a “relative unknown” and wanted that bout to “raise his stock”, Cormier couldn’t answer as to what caused Jones to think that that was his angle in wanting the coaching gig and a chance to fight him. ”I don’t know what it’s based on. Maybe just the number of followers I have on Twitter? I’d like to go back and see his number when he had 10 fights. I bet it wouldn’t be 400 thousand. I bet it wasn’t 400 thousand. I just don’t know what it’s based on. I mean when I fight, the people from Showtime always tell me the viewership’s higher than normal. When I go to events, people all want pictures and autographs. I walk around town, people recognize me and talk to me. So, I don’t understand what it’s based on – especially because we’re not around each other very much, so how would he know?”
By no means does Cormier think that Jones is dodging him because of his decorated wrestling pedigree or undefeated record. In fact, he genuinely seems to respect the champ. Cormier explained that perhaps Jones is just looking at it from a different point of view.
“When it comes to guys like Jon Jones and Anderson Silva, ducking and scared doesn’t come to mind. Those are two words I wouldn’t use when you talk about those guys. They’re not afraid of anything. His belief must really be that it doesn’t bring anything to the table at this point. Because you gotta remember, that this is the guy that said he didn’t want to fight Lyoto [Machida] again because it didn’t sell enough Pay Per Views. He’s looking at it differently now than I think he was whenever he was making his way up, when he first got the belt.”
Right now, most things are uncertain for Cormier’s future. Whether or not he drops in weight to fight at 205, or if he’ll be brought into the UFC, or who his opponent will be and when he’ll fight again, are all answers he hopes to get soon. Despite the plight Cormier’s been through in the past couple of months, his next step remains to get something set up with his original opponent for Strikeforce’s January fight card. “I do want to fight Frank Mir. Frank, get healthy buddy. Let’s get it done.”
Watch the show and check out our phone interview with Daniel Cormier here. Cormier joins the show at the 42 minute mark.
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Daniel Cormier is one classy man. You can tell he is not putting on a front, just a 100% real dude, right there.