Unlike many fans, Daniel Cormier is familiar with the man he will fighting on Saturday night.
Cormier was originally booked to face Rashad Evans in the co-main event of UFC 170, but a knee injury knocked Evans out of the fight. In Evans' place the UFC signed Patrick Cummins. Cummins, a two-time All-American wrestler had trained with Cormier when Cormier was preparing to wrestle at the 2004 Olympics.
Cormier, spoke about the change in plans after the recent open workouts, and said at first he was happy that Cummins (4-0) was getting the chance to fight in the UFC. However, that initial feeling turned sour pretty quickly when the MMA media began to talk to Cummins. Cormier said of Cummins, "He started talking, and he hasn't stopped talking since, and now it's not good for little Patrick, now it's like I'm going to beat Patrick's ass."
What fired Cormier up were comments that Cummins made about a wrestling training session. As Cummins remembered it, he "broke" Cormier, reducing him to tears. Cormier's coach said that wasn't entirely true, but by the time Cormier relayed his side of the story, Cummins rendition of what happened was the one that most fans and media were focusing on.
Another angle that has been getting a lot of attention is the Rocky-like story of Cummins. UFC president Dana White even got in on that one, saying at the pre-fight press conference, "You want to talk about a 'Rocky' story? This kid is the real Rocky. I like it." Cormier's not buying that angle at all. "People actually think this is like Rocky. It's not like Rocky. I am not underestimating this guy. I know I have a fight on my hands, and because of that I am well prepared both mentally and physically."
Cormier said that his time preparing for an elite boxer-wrestler in Evans has him more than ready to face another boxer-wrestler in Cummins, "I'm not fighting a guy that's been in the top five for the last seven years," Cormier said. "I'm fighting a guy that's just getting here. He doesn't know what he's in for. He hasn't done this. He hasn't danced this dance before."
When asked if he had watched any of Cummins' four professional fights, Cormier responded that he had not, and that there was a very good reason why he had not watched those fights, "I want to make him the biggest, meanest, toughest guy that I ever stepped into the cage with," said Cormier. "My idea of who Pat Cummins is going into that cage is Cain (Velasquez), Jon (Jones), Anderson (Silva), (Chris) Weidman; they're all Patrick Cummins. I want to make him the biggest, most savage animal you've ever seen."
UFC 170 will mark Cormier's debut at light heavyweight. His previous 13 bouts (all wins) were all contested at the heavyweight limit.