UFC: Daniel Cormier discusses reasoning behind taking fight with Cummins

Thearon W. Henderson

UFC star, Daniel Cormier discusses his reasoning behind taking a short notice fight with a relative unknown, the personal sense of relief at not having to fight his longtime friend, as well as his thoughts on Cummins' criminal past and where he feels a win over the UFC's newest recruit will put him.

The best laid plans don't always go the way they are meant to. A perfect example of this is the now scrapped bout between UFC stars, Rashad Evans and Daniel Cormier. It's a fight that's been months in the making, and in an unfortunate twist, Evans suffered a knee injury in training that took him out just 10 days before their showdown.

In the 24 hours following the announcement, several updates occurred. First, it was reported that the fight would be moved to UFC 172. Then Chael Sonnen offered to postpone his own fight with opposing TUF coach, Wanderlei Silva so he could take the bout with Cormier. Daniel then took to Twitter asking for anyone to step up so he could stay on the 170 card.

During all these reports and updates, a virtual unknown fighter named Patrick Cummins was in a tweeting frenzy, asking the UFC and Dana White to let him step up for the opportunity of a lifetime. The 30 year old former Penn State wrestler has a 4-0 record and was a part time barista at a local coffee shop in California. He'd had a brush with the law several years back in a non-violent burglary offense stemming from what he says was a fraternity prank. Either way, as reported earlier, he ended up serving an 8 month sentence in 2011 as a result.

By this morning, Cormier was getting anxious to get a fight booked, preferably for next Saturday night. After some wheeling and dealing from Dana White and the Zuffa brass, he got his wish, and a fight was booked between him and Cummins. Date: Next Saturday night.

The questions and comments from the social media fan base have been aplenty, with the foremost being why exactly would Cormier take this fight. I sat down with Daniel a few hours ago and got some details on this, the personal sense of relief he has at not having to fight his longtime friend, as well as his thoughts on Cummins' criminal past and where he feels a win over the UFC's newest recruit will put him.

He may say he broke me in practice and made me cry, but I guarantee you, more times than not, Pat Cummins was on the receiving end of whatever whipping was doled out on that day.

Relief

On a personal level, there is a sense of relief in that I don't have to fight my buddy, especially now that I have another fight. Before, I had concern for Rashad as a friend, because I don't want him to be hurt. I care about the guy. I don't want him to be sitting on the shelf for a long time, especially at his age. We're the same age and the opportunities don't last forever.

At the same time, the moment I heard that the fight got canceled to this morning, when they were talking about just moving it to 172, it seemed inevitable, like they were going to make us fight, regardless. We were gonna be done with it next week, but then it would be pushed out to where we'd have months and months more to think about fighting each other, friends. It's a little bit of a relief to not have to go through that.

Chael Sonnen As A Possible Opponent

I never thought it would be Chael because Dana was pretty firm when he talked to me. He said, ‘You know who just called me wanting the fight?' I was like, ‘Who?' He goes, ‘Chael.' I was, ‘Alright dude, let us fight then.' I don't care. I just want to fight. This has been tough for me. This diet thing hasn't been easy at all. If it's Chael then it's Chael. He's one of my buddies. We work together all the time, but if him and I have to fight, then we have to fight. Dana was just really firm in saying that it wouldn't happen, though. There was never any point where I thought he and I were actually going to fight.

Physical Need To Fight

It's been tough, this weight cut. It was a complete change to my lifestyle. I was used to having anything I wanted, but right now, everything has to fit a number, a time of day, things like that. It's different when you're fighting at heavy for 4 years and haven't had to make weight for anything since 2008. Last time I did it, I was 29 years old. I'll be 35 next month. It's not getting any easier.

Peaking is also a huge part of it. I'm just finishing a 10 or 11 week training camp, then I'd have to do another 9 or 10 weeks. Who trains 20 weeks for a fight? That's the situation I would have been in if they would have moved the fight to 172.

The UFC went above and beyond for me today when they found me a fight. I told Dana how I'd pushed myself through this hard training camp, to a level that I never have. I worked extremely hard because I knew I was fighting one of the best guys that I would ever step in the cage with. He went out there and made it happen. I can never question anything that the UFC does because they always seem to have my best interest in mind.

Financial Needs

You know, it is a financial thing, too. I'm not gonna sit here and complain because there are guys that are in much worse financial positions than me. I'm not going to pretend that I was broke, but I do spend a lot of money on training camp. I have 2 boxing coaches that I pay, a jiu-jitsu coach, a nutritionist, the person that makes my food; they all have to be paid. I still have day to day bills for my family, the kind everyone has.

Now, it's about putting that money away for the future. It's about finding the home that I'm going to raiser my kids in. I'm still not where I want to be to secure the life that I want to give my family. We're getting pretty close to that, but in order for it to happen, I have to be pretty active.

I'm not young. That window closes pretty fast. I remember thinking when I first started out at 30 that I had all the time in the world. Now I'm looking at it and thinking I'm almost done. Your window is just not that big, so I want to be active as much as I can.

Pat Cummins

Pat's got courage. He's a wrestler and has been in battles. He's stood across the wrestling mat from some of the toughest guys in the world. He may say he broke me in practice and made me cry, but I guarantee you, more times than not, Pat Cummins was on the receiving end of whatever whipping was doled out on that day. He kept coming back and he kept improving, though. He's faced the best. He's been through it, and I think that's why it was so easy for him to campaign for this fight.

Cummins' Criminal History

Young people make mistakes. He did his time, and he paid for his mistakes. He should have a chance to live his life. He's repaid his debt to society, and I don't know what else we can expect of him. I'm not very familiar with the situation, but I have no problem with his past. From what I know of him from training with him, he was a good guy.

A Win Over Cummins Puts Me Where?

I think that it will allow me to go into the rankings. Where exactly, I don't know. I would imagine that it would put me in that Top 10 or 15 for sure. I'd be 14-0 and regardless of what people think of Pat...well, they just don't know him. He's a world class athlete.

I don't know exactly where it puts me, but it does allow me to complete this journey that I started to get down to 205. People thought that I got thrown into the deep end by getting Rashad Evans as my first LHW bout. You don't get thrown in with him. You earn a shot to fight him. You don't get to just stand across the cage from guys like that. You earn that kind of opportunity. This fight, at the very least, allows me to complete my journey down to LHW.

At the time of this posting, UFC LHW champ, Jon Jones made some tweets that he apparently thought better of leaving up, so he deleted them. Fortunately for our readers, David St. Martin made sure to get a screen grab of them. Something tells me that this will only add fuel to the fire for Daniel's continuing quest for gold.

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You can follow Daniel via his Twitter account, @DC_MMA

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