Daniel Cormier's decision win over Frank Mir was far from impressive, but it was more than enough to prove he belongs in the conversation for a UFC title shot.
Mir, who recently started training at Jackson's MMA, raved about his vast improvement in cardio fans would bear witness to against Cormier. He even looked the part at the official weigh-ins on Friday, stepping onto the scales and showing off his brand new six pack of abs.
Unfortunately, it didn't translate over on fight night, as Mir appeared gassed halfway into the second round.
Perhaps the more shocking part of the fight was Cormier's own slowdown late in the fight. The former wrestling Olympian has always showcased great cardio and the ability to outwork his opponents.
At the post-fight press conference, he merely chalked the performance up to the well-established Octagon jitters:
I always kind of laughed at Dana [White] when he said there's jitters and there's nerves that come along with this. I was like, 'My career has prepared me for this. There's no chance that I,' but man I was nervous today. Like I felt so nervous, it's almost like you want it so bad and you want to do so well, and it's just like you kind of lay an egg a little bit. I didn't fight the fight I wanted to, and more than anything, I felt tired, and I have never gotten tired.
There is a first time for everything, especially when you are competing against the best in the world.
The victory for Cormier does bring up one question: Is he ready to fight for a UFC title shot?
Daniel Cormier is definitely ready for a UFC title shot, but his performance against Mir doesn't justify one. Still, after competing at the highest levels in sports, it's unlikely Cormier will lay another "egg."
There have been a number of instances where fighters from other promotions have come over with much pre-fight hype only to have disappointing debuts. Fighters like Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Anthony Pettis certainly didn't turn any heads in their first UFC bouts.
With a UFC victory finally under his belt, Cormier should have more confidence and a better showing in his next outing.
The UFC and Cormier's camp are currently mulling over a drop to light heavyweight to challenge either Jon Jones or Chael Sonnen for the division title, as he would rather avoid fighting his teammate and close friend Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight strap.
It may be wise to allow Daniel Cormier to linger around the heavyweight division for at least a couple of more fights before awarding him with a title shot. This would allow him time to become better acclimated with UFC competition and also give him the opportunity to win over many more casual fans and gain a much larger following.
But differing opinions undoubtedly exist—should the UFC wait and offer him another fight or two, or is "DC" ready now for a world title shot?
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