Long thought to be confined to the heavyweight division, Cormier contemplates move to light heavyweight if he must fight teammate Cain Velasquez. Photo by Josh Hedges/Forza LLC/Forza LLC via Getty Images
Two-time Olympic wrestling team member and undefeated prospect Daniel Cormier vaulted himself into the upper-echelon of the heavyweight division in September after he demolished Brazilian giant Antonio Silva at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. The shocking knockout victory extended Cormier's unblemished record to nine, creating talk that he may, in fact, fulfill a role as the next great heavyweight fighter. Fellow semifinalist Josh Barnett stands in his path of proving that theory for fans, but we won't find out until Cormier's hand heals, sometime in early 2012.
In the meantime, Cormier's teammate at American Kickboxing Academy, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, prepares for his first title defense on the UFC's inaugural Fox card on November 12. As you would expect, a world-class wrestler like Cormier is one of Velasquez's primary training partners, making it inevitable that a question arise about Cormier and Velasquez ever fighting one another. Interestingly enough, Cormier told Yahoo!'s Dave Meltzer that it could happen if the money was right:
"It'll be a very difficult fight for us to do. It will have to be worth it to us financially. We share the same coaches and the same management team. We'd have to address this as a group, with [manager] Bob Cook, Javier. I don't want to be just a good fighter. I want to be the best in the world. I could be in line for a championship but if it came down to us, I'd much rather go to 205. That would eliminate a lot of things. We have a great thing going at AKA, to avoid a lot of negatives, to avoid people having to choose sides, I'd rather move to 205, maybe beat someone, and then face Jon Jones. I'd have to have that fight instead of Cain."
The possibility of a Velasquez-Cormier showdown isn't the most intriguing tidbit of information however. It's the fact that Cormier would consider a drop to the light heavyweight division. For fans who have seen Cormier fight, it seems like a no-brainer. A 5'11" frame isn't exactly ideal for the mammoth fighters that await Cormier in the UFC's heavyweight division. Why not just cut the weight and take your chances at 205?
Cormier suffered kidney failure less than one hour before a scheduled match with Cuban Michel Batista in the 96kg weight class at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The constant fluctuations in weight that Cormier had put himself through over the years caused the problems. His body reportedly had severe reactions to the rehydration process, and Cormier himself spoke about the implications that cutting weight had on his body.
It was long believed that this was the reason Cormier fought within the confines of the heavyweight division. A couple of years ago, the argument to drop was more adamant, mainly because the division housed mammoths like Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin. Today, Cain Velasquez normally sits somewhere around 245 lbs., roughly the same weight as Cormier. The argument that he can't survive based on his weight alone has flown the coup.
Teammates fighting each other is now the sole issue, and to eliminate the 'negatives' -- Cormier is willing to make a cut six pounds below a weight that hospitalized him at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Now that's loyalty.
Cormier's wrestling pedigree inside the confines of the 205 lb. weight class could spell disaster for some of the best fighters in the division. He might even have the style to defeat Jon Jones. He certainly has the history of overcoming adversity to prove he can never be counted out. Strangely, his success in a higher weight class is what makes this move possible. Will it happen?