UFC President Dana White has shared his thoughts on the legacy of former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who retired after a close, decision loss to Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC 252 last Saturday.
White was asked about Cormier at the UFC 252 post-fight press conference, and praised him as a fighter than exceeded all of his initial expectations as both a light heavyweight and heavyweight.
“The funny thing about Cormier is that he’s one of those guys that doesn’t look like he could be the light heavyweight and heavyweight champion, but man, that guy is tough, gritty, he’s got a really good fight IQ,” White said (via MMA Fighting). “He’s tough, he’s a tough guy. He stood in there-Look how much bigger Stipe was than him tonight, and he stood in there toe-to-toe and banged it out with Stipe. This time, the second time, and the first time they fought.
“When I really realized how good Cormier was and that he was real was when he was in Strikeforce. It’s hilarious because I don’t watch any of the competitors’ stuff, I usually never watch the stuff unless it’s a fight that I’m interested in. But I ended up watching that.
“I remember where I was and what I did the night that I watched that fight. It was the Josh Barnett fight. The way that he beat Josh Barnett [in the heavyweight grand prix final] and the way that he beat Josh Barnett and what he did to Josh Barnett is when I said, ‘God damn, this guy is really, really good.’ That was when I first noticed Daniel Cormier and thought that he was real.”
White also praised Cormier as a joy to work with outside of the Octagon.
The guy’s been the best to work with. He’s easy, he wanted to fight everybody. He’s willing to do anything. He’s a great guy, he’s a great ambassador to the sport and it’s been fun.”
Ahead of UFC 252, White expressed doubt that Cormier would stick to his long-discussed retirement plans. After Cormier confirmed his retirement post-fight, however, White admitted that his previous comments were probably just the manifestation of his wishful thinking.
“I think my saying he won’t retire is me kind of hoping he doesn’t retire. Whatever he wants to do, I’m happy for him. If he wants to fight, I’m happy for him. If he wants to retire, I’m really happy for him too.”
How will you remember the MMA career of Daniel Cormier?