Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier is still pushing for a light heavyweight title shot. While he called out UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones back at the final Strikeforce event back in January, the former USA Olympic Wrestling Team member has remained a force at heavyweight.
Speaking with UFC Tonight for their July 24 edition, he flatly stated that he was going to implore the UFC brass to let him jump the line for an immediate title shot at 205 lbs following his UFC 166 bout with Roy Nelson.
Though Cormier has been hinting that he wishes for shot at Jones' belt, he has seemed relatively content working over top-10 heavyweights in the meantime. After beating Josh Barnett to cement himself as the top heavyweight in Strikeforce, he took on no-name light heavyweight Dion Staring in a heavyweight bout at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine.
While he would rough up Staring and call out Jon Jones, he wound up facing long-time UFC heavyweight title contender Frank Mir in his first bout in the Octagon. He is now slated to face off with new rival Roy “Big Country” Nelson. Nelson and Cormier have been beefing mightily over the last month, with Cormier saying he wants to fight Nelson “for Dana White”, with Nelson labeling it “an Uncle Tom move.
Cormier is a relatively small heavyweight in terms of his height and frame, and questions about a potential drop to 205 lbs have always lingered. The move seemed unlikely for a long while due to a near-death experience stemming from his weight cut for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. However, with his friend and teammate, Cain Velasquez, reigning as heavyweight champion, he feels like the light heavyweight division is the best place to make a run for the belt, and is confident he can safely make weight
Jones is currently scheduled to face Alexander Gustafsson in September at UFC 165. Cormier, meanwhile, will face Nelson at UFC 166 on a to-be-determined date (which will likely be in October or November).