It may have only been Daniel Cormier's promotional debut in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but his convincing victory at UFC on Fox 7 over prolific fighter Frank Mir sets up a promising career within his new company.
The former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion won by unanimous decision on Saturday in San Jose's HP Pavilion. With that, Cormier instantly proved he is a worthy candidate to take down Cain Velasquez in the future for the UFC heavyweight title.
After the resounding triumph over Mir, Cormier indicated he's pondering a move to light heavyweight for at least one more bout before taking on Velasquez, per Dana Becker of FightLine.com.
He could likely use a couple more dominating showcases to earn the chance from Dana White as it is, but the boss of the UFC has to be impressed with what he saw from Cormier on Saturday evening.
Even well before he made his maiden appearance in the UFC, Cormier expressed his plans to wear a championship belt back in January.
Although he insisted on a prospective fight with Velasquez not being in his immediate plans, a title shot shouldn't be out of the question in the not-too-distant future. Cormier and Vasquez train together and are good friends, and the possibility seems more tangible after Cormier's display against Mir.
Given Mir's ground-game prowess and experience in the Octagon, it was extremely impressive that Cormier was able to dictate the tone of the entire match.
The consensus among B/R's own experts was a TKO for Cormier in Round 2. However, despite not sporting the chiseled midsection that many of his counterparts do, Cormier showed outstanding stamina in the 15-minute clash.
Rather than get into a wrestling tangle, he kept Mir at bay by rattling him against the cage and hit him with effective, devastating combinations in close quarters. That ultimately thwarted an early push by Mir, which featured a plethora of crushing kicks.
Cormier is an ex-Olympic wrestler himself, yet he opted to use his 5'10", 235-pound frame as a difficult moving target on foot. That shows the versatility necessary of a UFC champion and also Cormier's ability to adapt his arsenal in an effort to more adequately exploit his opponents.
In terms of his potential in mixed martial arts, it appears that Cormier is just scratching the surface.
Since Mir has a five-inch height advantage, it was difficult for Cormier in the early going to get enough space to diminish the effect of his opponent's kicks. Once he got settled in, though, it was clear who the victor was going to be.
If he can continue to polish up and focus on specific martial arts disciplines in a more refined way, there is no telling what Cormier's ceiling in the UFC will be.
It may seem like hyperbole to garner Cormier with this type of hype so early in his UFC career. However, he showed that he could withstand early adversity and proved that his training at the American Kickboxing Academy has paid off.
That practice translated to the biggest stage in MMA, and Cormier should only continue to improve as the 34-year-old progresses through the ranks.
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