Two-time Olympian Daniel Cormier Discusses Move to MMA

Nate LawsonCorrespondent IAugust 13, 2009

Daniel Cormier’s career as an amateur wrestler has taken him to many places in this world, all while gaining a reputation as one of the world’s finest along the way. Now the two-time Olympian’s background in wrestling brings him to the world of mixed martial arts.

“I had an idea that I wanted to do it (mixed martial arts), but when I made the full commitment would have been like two months ago,” stated Cormier. "When I went to AKA I fell in love, and that was pretty much it."

American Kickboxing Academy, or AKA, is known worldwide for its reputation in the sport of mixed martial arts. The same training facility that sold Cormier on a career in mixed martial arts is called home to Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Mike Swick, Cain Velasquez, and several other prominent figures of the sport.

Cormier, who plans on beginning his career as a heavyweight will undoubtedly use the talent surrounding him to make himself a better fighter. Cain Velasquez, a fellow heavyweight and strong wrestler, is the quintessential example for Cormier to follow.

“Anytime you are in a camp with a guy that is as highly rated as Cane, you have to gauge yourself off of that. He’s such a good striker. He’s well rounded right now in mixed martial arts. When I feel like I can do the things that he is doing, I’ll know that I am ready to compete for a championship, as I think Cain is right now.”

Velasquez is a heavyweight contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Cormier hopes to put himself in similar position to his AKA teammate, regardless of organization.

“Strikeforce and UFC; being the champion in one of those organizations is my ultimate goal,” continued Cormier. “It’s either one really, for me. I just want to be the champion in either one of those two organizations.”

With Alistair Overeem, Brett Rogers, and Fedor Emelianenko hailing out of the Strikeforce Heavyweight division, along with Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez, and Randy Couture heading up the best of the UFC Heavyweight division, Cormier will certainly gain a level of heavy competition.

However, the young prospect still has a ways to go to face any of the aforementioned. While Cormier is without a contract or a scheduled debut in mixed martial arts, he explained that his first time inside the cage will not prove as intense a situation as it does for many.

After his years of international competition, including televised Olympic performances, Cormier stated that “doing mixed martial arts here in front of a lot of people shouldn’t be that bad,” when it comes to competing in front of sold-out arenas during pay-per-view events.

His experience against the best competition on the planet also helps Cromier in his quest for dominance in mixed martial arts, along with making his place inside the octagon a little more comfortable than the average first-timer of the sport.

Through his time in amateur wrestling, Cormier has competed in some of the world’s most difficult tournaments, winning many of them. He has gained the experience of facing the world’s best, and, aside from a mere ten times, walking away from those encounters with a victory.

As Cormier enters into a new world of competition, he brings with him a solid and skillful base in wrestling, a quality past as an amateur wrestler, and one of the top tier camps in the sport. The combination of the three is perhaps the precise equation for Cormier’s success in whatever organization he falls into, and his career in mixed martial arts as a whole.