Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Former UFC Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez says his AKA teammate and Strikeforce HW champ Daniel Cormier can make 205 pounds and wants to fight LHW champ Jon Jones.
Former UFC Heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez sat down with media at a recent luncheon and the topic strayed from his upcoming rematch against current champ Junior dos Santos at UFC 155 on December 29. Instead, Velasquez spoke with the press about his American Kickboxing Academy teammate Daniel Cormier and his possible future in the UFC's Light Heavyweight division.
Cormier is currently stuck in Strikeforce after having won their Heavyweight Open Grand Prix by beating Josh Barnett this past May. Cormier has to fight for Strikeforce one more time before he can move on to the UFC. He had been scheduled to face former UFC champ Frank Mir on November 3 but that fight was cancelled when Mir got injured. It's expected Cormier will fight on the next Strikeforce card in January, 2013.
With his teammate in limbo, Velasquez painted a picture of a Cormier that plans on moving down to Light Heavyweight and facing LHW champ Jon Jones.
"I think he wants to drop down [to light heavyweight]," Velasquez said of Cormier as reported by MMA Fighting. "He's been wanting that fight with Jon Jones for a while now. We've definitely talked about it. [When] he does come into the UFC, he can make 205 [pounds]."
"He's heavy right now," admitted Velasquez. "He's like 240 [pounds] right now.
"But, you know, we'll clean up his diet really good, because the way his diet is, it isn't the cleanest. He's going to have to work a little bit at it, for sure. He just has to do it smart. The diet needs to be on-point. He can't be messing around with that kind of stuff. I think he can do it."
"He'd beat (Jon Jones)," vowed the admittedly biased former champ. "He's fast. He's powerful. He has the best wrestling out there. I think he beats him wherever they're at."
A couple of things have to be noted here. Firstly, Cain and Cormier are friends and teammates and have no desire to fight each other. Something that UFC President Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta would likely push hard. The UFC brass has never cared for AKA members' resistance to facing each other in the Octagon. White and Fertitta both pushed hard for Welterweights Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch to face off while they were both with AKA.
Secondly, Cormier wrecked his kidneys trying and failing to cut weight for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He's short for a Heavyweight at 5'11" (that's his official height, but he looks shorter) and should be a more natural Light Heavyweight, but he'll need to get serious about gradual weight loss and adjust to fighting with a greatly reduced body mass since it's unlikely he'll be able to cut the 15-20 pounds that most UFC Light Heavyweights cut before weigh ins only to re-hydrate and balloon back up by fight time.
So there may be an element of wishful thinking here from Velasquez who has no desire to fight his teammate.