The entire MMA world has been wondering since the conclusion of UFC on Fox 7 if Daniel Cormier's future in the Octagon would remain at heavyweight, or if he would be making the move down to 205 pounds.
Cormier has long flirted with the idea of dropping down to the light heavyweight division for a number of reasons, maybe none more paramount than the fact that his close friend and teammate Cain Velasquez currently sits as UFC heavyweight champion, and the two fighters have no desire to face one another in the cage.
Add in the fact that Cormier's frame, at 5'10" tall, tends to match him better with fighters in the light heavyweight division.
While a move to 205 pounds still seems likely for Cormier's future, it appears that he will be sticking around at heavyweight for at least another fight or two.
"I always thought if I were to go down, I would need a lot of time to do it. I think that still applies, but I would like to still fight," Cormier told Bleacher Report. "At the end of the day I can't cut massive amounts of weight. That's well-documented from my problems in the Olympic games. But I can diet, and when I'm dieting I can still fight. Can I fight at 205? No. Because it's too much weight to cut in a short period of time. But could I fight a heavyweight fight and just be a little lighter? I think so."
The plan for Cormier right now is to book his next fight at heavyweight while he's making the transition down to the smaller weight class. The key, according to the former Olympian, is to cut the weight slowly but surely without sacrificing too much time inside the cage.
"Yeah because it keeps me busy, I'm still getting to fight and still gaining experience," Cormier said about staying at heavyweight for now. "At the end of the day, I'm still very early in my career."
One fight that has been mentioned by UFC President Dana White is Cormier taking on former The Ultimate Fighter winner Roy Nelson sometime later this year. While Nelson and his management have varying ideas on what comes next, Cormier doesn’t really care much if he faces him or another top-10 fighter.
Cormier's focus is on facing the best fighters in the division, and if the name on his contract reads Roy Nelson, then so be it.
"I think any fight that involves someone on that higher rank makes sense," Cormier stated. "Any of the higher-ranked guys make sense. Also a guy that's coming off a win. It's very important if you look at the UFC matchmaking that's how it goes. Two guys coming off wins make fights. I think any fight with a guy that's ranked high and advances my career makes sense. I just want to fight big fights."
Cormier took a week off after his last fight against Frank Mir at UFC on Fox 7 to take his family to Disneyland, but immediately after he was right back in the gym sparring with Velasquez to help him get ready for his fight at UFC 160 against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva.
The move to light heavyweight will begin with Cormier adjusting his diet and dropping the weight over the next several months, but he doesn’t want to accept a fight at 205 pounds unless he knows he will make the cut comfortably.
The end goal for Cormier is to win a UFC championship, and right now the best way to do that is fighting at light heavyweight. The former Strikeforce fighter doesn't intend on fighting Velasquez, and in his opinion the current UFC champion will remain in possession of the gold for quite some time.
"They're not beating Cain. They're not good enough," Cormier said about the heavyweight division. "I'm telling you right now I think they're great, I think Junior dos Santos is great. I think Junior dos Santos has the best chance of beating Cain, but the rest, they're not beating him. They're not good enough. It's about as honest as I can be with you—they're not good enough to beat him."
In terms of his timeline for a return to action, Cormier doesn't want to sit out too long, which also necessitates his next fight being at heavyweight. Cormier had to miss a lot of time over the last couple of years due to an injured hand and plenty of delays at his former promotional home in Strikeforce. At 34 years of age, Cormier doesn't want to waste any time, so the sooner he can get back in action, the better.
"When I look at some of these cards you look at the July card, Anderson Silva and (Chris) Weidman, I think they need a co-main event. Then in August that Fox Sports 1 card, that would be pretty cool," stated Cormier. "Any of the big cards I would love to be a part of."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.
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