Daniel Cormier has made no secret of his intentions to make a run at the light heavyweight title.
The former Olympian has been wrecking shop in the heavyweight ranks since turning pro four years ago. The Louisiana native has successfully transitioned from his days as the winner of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix to solidifying himself as one of the top-ranked heavyweights in the UFC.
While "D.C." has made things relatively easy inside the cage, the biggest obstacle blocking his run to championship gold is one that comes from inside his own gym in the form of reigning heavyweight champion and cardio juggernaut Cain Velasquez. The two men are close friends in their personal lives and training partners and teammates in the professional realm, which has made a potential showdown a road they refuse to travel.
That said, Cormier and his management team had the foresight to diagnose this issue long ago, and the former Oklahoma State University wrestling standout has been plotting a course for the light heavyweight division for the past year.
With his unanimous decision victory over Roy Nelson at UFC 166, the AKA staple not only kept his undefeated record intact, but also beefed up some momentum for his next bout—one that Cormier is certain will come at 205 pounds.
While his initial intentions were to get an immediate title shot against champion Jon Jones, recent activity in the light heavyweight title tier will make that next to impossible. The pound-for-pound great is slated to face Glover Teixeira sometime in early 2014, with recent title challenger Alexander Gustafsson positioned to get the winner granted he wins his next showing.
Those circumstances paint a cloudy picture for Cormier to enter. That said, the UFC President is excited to see what he can do in what White deems as the "nastiest" division in the UFC. White was pleased with Cormier's performance on Saturday night and spoke to the media following the post-fight press conference in Houston.
"I thought he looked great tonight," White said. "I thought he looked a million times better than he did in his first fight in the UFC against Frank Mir. He beat Roy standing up. He was kicking more than Roy. I mean Roy was just standing there getting lit up. At 205...I don't know. I don't know where he's going to fit at 205. The 205-pound division has been one of the, if not the nastiest divisions in the UFC forever. Guys are faster and taller in that division and it's not an easy division to cut down to."
During the post-fight press conference, White was asked if Cormier would possibly be tapped to face Gustafsson next year when the UFC returns to Sweden, where the promotion has stated the 26-year-old will main event for his next showing. The UFC head honcho was noncommittal on locking down that matchup, but stated Cormier is certainly a possible option to fill that spot.
With Cormier's victory over Nelson at UFC 166, he moves to 13-0 as a professional and 2-0 under the UFC banner.
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.
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