Daniel Cormier is a great fighter.
With only two fights and wins to his credit in the UFC, the Olympic level wrestler has managed to make his presence felt within the brand and his name known to an ever growing crew of fans.
Since his joining the promotion in 2013, Cormier has forced his name into the title contention status in both the heavyweight and light-heavyweight divisions and now stands to make his debut in the latter.
On February 22, “DC” will square off against number three ranked Rashad Evans, in a fight that may land either in contender status. The duo anchors the co-main event at UFC 170 in Las Vegas and in lead-up to the fight, Cormier (today) spent some time with the media answering questions.
Of the things he said, the most notable was the he believes Rashad Evans to be a bigger threat to beating him, than division champion Jon Jones would be. Although not disrespecting the champ, indeed he feels he’s as “dominant” a champion as Cain Velasquez is, he does nonetheless, feel that Evans is a tougher match-up. In short, DC feels that Rashad is more dynamic and has more ways of finishing a fight.
As Cormier put it:
“I’ve trained with Rashad (Evans) before; you know he’s felt me before. He’s got a different set of skills than Jones, obviously. I think Rashad is actually a little more difficult to takedown for me, than it would be for a guy with longer limbs. I don’t mind wrestling a guy with long limbs. I think it works to my advantage, because I can get to their legs. Rashad doesn’t kick as much; kicking actually feeds your opponent the leg. Jon kicks more, so that’s easier to grab takedowns. And ah, ah you know, Rashad is just, he’s a more dynamic type of fighter, like in terms of one punch knockout power. He has more than Jones does. Explosiveness, he’s a little faster in that sense, whereas Jon is more of a, Jon is, he’s great, but he works at his pace, he fights at his pace, you know, he doesn’t really, I mean I don’t know that he’s ever put anyone out on his feet. You know, its submissions and he gets on top and he kind of pounds guys out, well that’s one tool that goes out the window with me, because he can’t score a takedown.”
In terms of his move down to light-heavyweight, Cormier stated that his friendship with heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez played a part in the decision, but that he also made the move because he wanted to start living “healthier” and that the move to 205 was the right thing to do for both his size and career.
Regarding the pros and cons of the move, Cormier stated that there are advantages and disadvantages to the move. He feels that he loses in the speed and size categories, but gains in the cardio. However, DC feels that what he gains, which is the ability to fight the way he wants, outweighs any negatives.
As Cormier remarked upon it as such:
“I think I lose the speed advantage that I had at heavyweight, more than anything I think the guys are going to be faster. I’m not going to be any taller, the guys are still going to be taller than I am, there still going to be bigger, I’m just not going to be as fast as the guys that I was fighting before.”
“I’ve gained more cardio; the ability to go harder. And I think that I couldn’t really fight the way I wanted to at heavyweight, because the size was so different. Whereas, if you watch Cain (Velasquez) fight he can just get in their face as long as he wants, I think I’ll be able to do that against 205 pound guys. I think I lose the speed advantage that I had at heavyweight, more than anything I think the guys are going to be faster. I’m not going to be any taller, the guys are still going to be taller than I am, there still going to be bigger, I’m just not going to be as fast as the guys that I was fighting before.
Regarding the pros and the cons, fans are apt to agree with DC’s assessment. Although there will be fighters in the division that are still taller, bigger and faster than he is, his increased cardio and ability to set a pace should offset any downside to the drop in weight.
Either way, it should be an interesting fight and not one that Evans should be written out of. As Cormier said of Evans, he has great hands and KO power, and is a solid grappler. He may well have the tool set to upset Cormier’s debut at 205.
For the rest of the interview, hit play.
Video courtesy of MMAfighting.com