A few weeks ago, we finally got to see one of the most anticipated Strikeforce crossovers when Daniel Cormier faced and defeated Frank Mir at UFC On FOX 7: Henderson vs. Melendez. While Cormier won a decisive, unanimous victory, he initially voiced discontent with his performance that night. In the weeks following the fight, he's come to the realization that he didn't do so bad, after all.
Since then, speculation has begun as to who his next opponent will be, and at what weight. The buzz before the Mir fight was that he would get an immediate title shot at Jon Jones if he dropped down to 205. There was also chatter about a possible bout with Roy Nelson.
I grabbed a quick interview with Cormier last night following plenty of rumblings in the MMA rumor mill about a two year old altercation between him and Jones. He declined to comment on that story, but was very forthcoming about his future plans.
So, what weight will we be seeing Daniel fight at next? The immediate answer is heavyweight, but if the cards play out right, and the UFC brass wants a showdown between himself and Jones to happen, we could see a fight featuring the two before the year is out. Here's what he had to say on that, his first UFC fight and Frank Mir:
Well, I felt pretty bad in the cage because you can't ignore what you hear from the crowd, but then I went back and watched the fight, and you know, I did some pretty good work on the inside. I was able to control Frank the whole time. There was a lot of clinching, but in the clinch, it wasn't like we were just hugging. I was punching and throwing knees, trying to be as active as I could. I do think the nerves and the crowd chanting kind of got to me a little bit. When I watch it now, I don't think I fought as bad as I thought I did initially.
I think it was just such a fantastic fight card. I mean, there were nine knockouts, and to see a fight like that, which on a normal day, people might not have disliked it as much, if it was on a normal fight card, but I think, hands down, that was probably the best fight card that we've seen in a long time.
I think his toughness and refusal to be put away is a testament to Frank and his coaching staff down in New Mexico. He was well prepared. I thought that if I pressured him, with all the punches that I threw, and hanging on him and pressuring him, that he would kind of start to give up on himself, but he didn't. He was in the fight the whole time, fighting hard. His mind never got the best of him. I have a newfound respect for Frank Mir after fighting him.
It wasn't a tougher fight than Josh Barnett, and I didn't take any damage in it like I did with Josh. I didn't take any damage, but I took a lot in the Barnett fight. I respect Frank because he came in phenomenal shape and his cardio was much better than we've seen in the past. I don't think he took as many risks as I kind of anticipated, but he never stopped trying to win that fight.
The Frank Mir I fought on April 20, he beats a lot of people. With his skillset and him being in better condition, he's a very dangerous opponent for anybody. I really haven't seen Frank look that good in a very long time.
Title Shot Talk
I cannot drop massive amounts of weight any more. My body will not allow it to happen. Can I diet down and make the weight? Yes. Do I want to take six months to do it? Yes. Do I want to not fight during that time? No chance. Heavyweight is anything over 206 pounds. Anybody over 206 pounds can be a fight for me, on my way down to 205.
I'm not backing out of this. I would love to fight for the championship, but I need time, and I don't want to be inactive while I diet down. I've only been active for a short period of time, and I don't have time to waste. I'm 34 years old, and I need to be in the cage. I've just got to be fighting as I'm doing the move down.
Could I fight at 205 in November? Yes. Could I fight at 205 in August? No. I could fight at 220 in August. Even if I'm fighting a 250 pound guy, it doesn't matter. I could be 220 and still be in the cage, getting experience as I'm making my way down. 220 is the perfect weight, because when I'm cut to 205, I'll be 220 the next night in the cage.
Using a Diet Pro To Make Weight
I probably would use a Mike Dolce or Eric Triliegi or someone like that. I think that I fought twice this year, and I've been very responsible, in terms of finances. I can afford it. I've got some resources now that I can use to give myself the best situation.
My nightmare would be for the UFC to promote me in a fight for a championship, and not be able to make the weight. I don't ever want to do anything like that again. What that cost me before almost killed me, not being able to wrestle in the Olympics.
I need to make sure that I use everything in my power to get down there in a healthy manner. I'm gonna use as many people as I can. My ultimate goal is to be the UFC champion, and I'm not going to ever let that go. I need to find a way to do it. I will find a way to do it.
I think he just answered honestly. I really don't care, I just want to fight. If it's not him, okay. If it's one of the bigger 205 pounders that want to fight up a little bit heavier, that's fine. I don't really care. I don't want to be out of the cage for six months. I wasted a year of my career with broken hands.I'm finally healthy where I can fight multiple times in a year. I understand what Roy's saying. Whatever. I don't really have much of an opinion on it either way, actually.
Hand Health After Mir Fight
They were pretty beat up. I had some swelling in both hands after the fight, but they were fine a few days later. I went to the doctor immediately, got them checked out, and they weren't broken or anything, so that's obviously a positive. My hands are good. I threw a lot of punches, as I'm going to do every time, but I've been back in the gym for two weeks, and I've been sparring the whole time. I went down to Disneyland for a week, and when I came back, I started helping Cain prepare for his fight.
Jiu Jitsu Focus
So maybe people didn't enjoy that fight so much, but it takes a lot of skill to implement that game plan, and I'm not sure there are many people that can actually stop that game plan, especially if I can incorporate some takedowns in there.
I'm really going to start working more on my jiu jitsu so that I can take down anyone. I don't want to feel afraid to take a person down because I'm not as good at jiu jitsu as I need to be. I'm going to really work in that area, so that I can incorporate my takedowns against everyone. I think I really and truly did cheat myself against Frank by not being as good in jiu jitsu.
I train it now, but that's too late. The four years of my career, I should have been doing more and more jiu jitsu, so that no matter who I fight, I'm able to implement my biggest advantage, my wrestling. Now, I've really started focusing on that area so I can implement it into my game plans now. Randy Couture, Captain America, made a career of doing that. He pushed you up against the cage, he clinched you, he took you down and he beat you up. Everybody loved it. It can't be too bad, huh [laughs]?
You can follow Daniel via his Twitter account, @DC_MMA