Throw a wrestler into the Octagon and you will no doubt hear UFC commentator Mike Goldberg use the phrase "embracing the grind." Goldberg used those words several times during the UFC 166 broadcast when former U.S. Olympic wrestling team captain Daniel Cormier faced Roy Nelson. Apparently, there are limits to just how much of a grind Cormier is willing to embrace.
Prior to defeating Nelson by unanimous decision, Cormier made it clear that UFC 166 would be his final fight in the UFC's heavyweight division. Instead of battling at the 265-pound limit, Cormier will drop to 205 and compete at light heavyweight in his next fight.
At the post-UFC 166 press conference, Cormier was asked about facing Alexander Gustafsson in his first fight as a light heavyweight. Cormier responded by saying, "Okay. In America, only in America."
UFC president Dana White quickly dismissed that idea, saying, "His (Gustaffson's) next fight is over there (Sweden)."
On Wednesday's edition of UFC Tonight, Cormier went into more detail regarding his "Only in America" comment:
I have no problem fighting Alexander Gustafsson, not at all. The one thing I'm concerned about, being that it's going to be my first time down at 205, I know that Gustafsson is going to fight in Europe somewhere. Whether it's Sweden or somewhere else in Europe, I don't want to be making my first weight cut down to 205 overseas. I know what I'm going to need, I want to find saunas here in the United States and all the food that I'm comfortable with in order to make the weight.
Cormier is being very careful and systematic with his drop to 205-pounds after having some serious issues with weight cutting in the past. A poorly planned weight cut at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing forced Cormier to withdraw from the competition, and left him hospitalized with kidney failure.
It's hard to find fault with Cormier's decision to put his health and future first. If he needs to stay close to home and in his comfort zone when dropping weight, it's the safe and smart thing to do; catchphrase be damned.