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Daniel Cormier gives emotional tribute to former opponent Anthony Johnson: “For the fear he struck in people, he was as sweet as they came”

Despite being opponents in the cage, Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson were friends out of it.

Over the weekend, the MMA world lost an icon of the sport. ‘Rumble’ was one of the hardest-hitting fighters to ever step into the octagon. His highlight-reel knockouts over names such as Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira, and more will be shown for years to come.

While a wrecking ball in the cage, the former UFC title challenger was about as friendly as it comes outside of it. Hence, when he suddenly passed away at 38 over the weekend, it shocked and saddened the MMA community. Many high-profile fighters and fans paid respect to Johnson after the news broke.

One individual that paid respect is a man that faced Anthony Johnson twice. Daniel Cormier posted a tribute to his former rival on social media after the news broke. ‘DC’ famously defeated Johnson by submission twice in high-profile UFC title fights.

Despite their competitive rivalry in the cage, there was a lot of respect between the two men, as the UFC commentator revealed on the DC & RC podcast. There, Cormier gave paid tribute to his former opponent.

The UFC commentator also revealed that even as Johnson was battling illness, he still reached out after his mother passed away earlier this year.

Daniel Cormier Anthony Johnson

“What a loss, it really set the mixed martial arts world back,” stated Cormier on the DC & RC podcast. “It was really difficult for me to deal with. Being, that I spent a lot of time in the octagon with Anthony Johnson. When I tell you this man was a good person, I cannot overstate it. The way he treated me in the build-up to the fights, the way he treated me after the fights. This is a guy that put the belt on me after I won it the first time, this was something most guys don’t do. But, it’s just who he is.”

He continued, “He’s genuinely a good guy, from the callouts to the interactions, he was always really really good. Even when my mother passed earlier in the year, Anthony was going through a lot himself. He immediately texted me personally and wished me the best, told me he was always a good ear for me to rely on. It is a massive loss to lose a titan of mixed martial arts.”

“But, for as big as he was, and the fear that he struck in people, he was as sweet as they came. So, Rumble, I love you my brother.”

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This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM