EXCLUSIVE | Daniel Cormier Talks Cain vs. Bigfoot II, His Fight Against Mir & More | UFC NEWS
The UFC heavyweight division has been thrown in a state of flux over the past month and a half. Beginning with Cain Velasquez’s caveman beating of Junior Dos Santos at UFC 155 in December and ending with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva’s monumental upset of Alistair Overeem at UFC 156 on February 2, things have not gone as planned for the UFC brass. They were planning on a big showdown featuring either Velasquez or Dos Santos vs. Overeem, two fights fans have been clamoring for.
Daniel Cormier has been a very interested observer in all of this, not only because he will be coming over to the UFC in April, but because Velasquez is a good friend and teammate of his. Now that Velasquez has recaptured the heavyweight title he lost to Dos Santos in November of 2011, it would seem Cormier’s bout with Frank Mir in April may be his last as a heavyweight.
None the less, there was no one happier for Velasquez than Cormier, the two share a close bond and you could see how strong their relationship was as soon as the fight with Dos Santos concluded. According to Cormier that is the Cain Velasquez he expected to see the first time he met Dos Santos. Whether it was an injury is an argument for another day, this time around Velasquez showed the world why he is the top heavyweight in mixed martial arts.
“I expected that out of Cain in the first fight,” Cormier told BJPenn.Com Radio. “I didn’t think his injury was as severe as it was and that he’d be able to implement his gameplan. I think we saw what a healthy Cain Velasquez can do to Junior Dos Santos. I’m not sure if they fought 10 times that the fight wouldn’t play out exactly that same way, unless he got caught with something earlier that caused him to lose the fight. The skills don’t match up very well for Junior Dos Santos and I can’t imagine no matter how many times they fight that changing much.”
The UFC announced last week that Velasquez would defend his title against the man he defeated to earn his second crack at the belt, “Bigfoot” Silva at UFC 160. The two met at UFC’s all heavyweight main card event, UFC 146 last May and it was basically over before it ever started. Velasquez took Silva down, busted him wide open and basically painted the canvas with Silva’s blood. Silva earned his shot at redemption with a stunning third round knockout of Overeem. Cormier believes it is once again Velasquez’s fight to lose, but he was impressed with how resilient Silva was against Overeem. He also mentioned how Overeem blew a great opportunity and would have been wise to respect a man of Silva’s talent and size.
“It’s going to be up to Cain to determine how it plays out,” said Cormier. “Obviously you can make that fight with Bigfoot a lot harder than it needs to be, we saw Alistair Overeem do that. It can be the same as the last fight; Cain can take him down, beat him on the ground and win just as he did the first time round. I do expect it to be tougher; Bigfoot has shown improvement during his last few fights. He has done well against high level competition. I think Bigfoot Silva deserves a rematch, he’s more deserving than anyone else right now.”
“Bigfoot really didn’t too much in the first two rounds against Overeem,” said Cormier. “It’s almost as though his plan was to allow Alistair to wear himself out. Overeem did control him; he had a nice takedown and looked pretty good on top. He got in there with a big guy and seemed to have a gameplan to box and kickbox on the outside while using his speed and athleticism to win the fight. He never changed it, when his hands were down and he started to get hit he still left his hands down.”
“He made no adjustments as the fight was going on. He needed to make some adjustments when things weren’t going as good as he wanted them to later on in the fight, he should have picked his hands up. Leading up to the fight he didn’t show much respect for a professional fighter and a big huge man who is 6’4”, 280lbs. Those are mistakes that he’s going to have to live with. He’s going to regret that for a really long time, he let a golden opportunity slip through his hands and now it doesn’t get any easier, he’s fighting Junior Dos Santos!”
Moving on to his own career, Cormier will finally face former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir in April on UFC on Fox 7 in San Jose at the HP Pavilion. The two were scheduled to face off back in November with Mir becoming the first UFC fighter to crossover to the UFC, but he was injured and forced to withdraw. Cormier has been looking to fight Mir ever since and will get his opportunity in front of familiar fans and on national television during primetime. He’s at a very good place in his career and is slowly, but surely building up to the biggest fight of his life.
“I’m really excited for my skills to be on a bigger stage, hopefully I can show more improvement,” the former Olympic Wrestler stated. “My main goal in all my fights is to get better each time I get in the cage and hopefully I can do that again. There are a lot of positives about this fight, Frank being a two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion and the UFC believing in me enough to give me such a high profile fight on such a big card.”
“Things have been going good; I’m still in my pre-camp phase right now. I’m about 9-10 weeks out from the fight; I’m working hard and starting to get into shape. Then we’ll have a hard 6-7 week camp before the fight. It’s a lot of strength training, I’m lifting weights a little more than I normally do leading into this fight because Frank is a big strong guy. I’m starting to get my cardio up and starting to work on my timing. I didn’t have a lot of time to get out of shape after my last fight, it’ only been about a month since I fought. It’s almost time to pick it up and get back into to a full fight camp.
Fighting Mir is very important for Cormier, not only because Mir is a top heavyweight and former champion, but Cormier remembers watching Mir fight Brock Lesnar on the biggest UFC card in history. As he watched UFC 100 with his friends back in 2009, he knew then and there MMA was going to be part of his future.
“It’s completely sunk in, it’s not the fact that I’m fighting on Fox, but I’m fighting Frank Mir. This is a guy who at UFC 100 fought Brock Lesnar for the belt. I watched that at my friends’ house in Stillwater, Oklahoma and I said I’m going to do MMA. I had started thinking about it and a week later I was at AKA meeting with DeWayne Zinkin. Frank Mir is a guy I watched as a fan of the sport and I watched him fight on one of the biggest cards in MMA history.”