And NEW UFC light heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier. That was the main takeaway from Saturday night's UFC 187 main event. The circumstances surrounding the lead-in to that bout between Cormier and Anthony Johnson are well-known to most MMA fans at this point, but as a courtesy to those that might have been in the icy tundra of Antarctica or some such isolated location, I will lay out the key points again.
- 1/3/2015 Cormier loses 5 round title fight via unanimous decision
- 2/11/15 UFC announces Cormier/Bader for UFC Fight Night 68
- 2/18/15 UFC announces Jones/Johnson for UFC 187 main event
- 4/28/15 UFC stripped Jon Jones of LHW title following alleged hit and run incident
- 4/29/15 UFC announces Cormier/Johnson for UFC 187 main event
- 5/23/15 Cormier defeats Johnson and claims the UFC LHW belt
In the days prior to the 187 card, Cormier and fellow light heavyweight standout, Ryan Bader engaged in some Twitter trash talk which turned into a bit more, spilling over into the post-fight press conference following the event. Emotions ran hot, tempers flared and a genuine bad blood situation seems to have arisen between the two.
In a recent interview with the Three Amigos Podcast, Bader shared his thoughts on whether he thinks Cormier is the "real" LHW champion, what led to the verbal altercation at the presser, if he feels the new champ's personality has changed (gone full heel turn), how much his emotions will factor in if the two get a fight booked and his response to Daniel's personal message for him. Here's what he had to say:
The real LHW champ
I kind of feel like it's a little consolation prize. There's a guy that hasn't been beat, that has been dominating, and is the pound for pound best fighter out there and he had that belt. It got stripped from him. We fighters have nothing to do with Jon Jones being stripped of the title. We didn't vote him out. He brought it on himself and it is what it is.
That being said, in the back of your mind there's gotta be that knowledge that there's somebody out there who had that belt, and for Cormier it's somebody out there that's better than him and beat him. That's got to be in his head a little bit.
It's the same for somebody else who hasn't fought Jon Jones or went for the belt, there's still somebody out there who was dominating the division. When I win that belt I'll know there's somebody out there who was dominating the division and got taken out. For me, I wouldn't feel like the real champion until I fought Jon Jones
DC has had the easiest road to the title. If you look at who he's fought at 205lbs, it's Patrick Cummins and Dan Henderson, who happens to be a 185lb fighter. Then, he gets thrown in there with Jon Jones and gets beat. He gets gifted another chance at it and fights Anthony Johnson - who is a beast, don't get me wrong - but if there's any knock on Johnson, it's his Jiu-Jitsu and ground game, which is kind of Cormier's best attributes. Cormier is the most arrogant champion, and the least deserving.
Post-fight press conference
That was definitely a personal thing. When have I ever done anything like that? When have I ever bad-mouthed any of my opponents? I never have. That's not my style. I've had 18 fights in the UFC and I've never been disrespected like I was by DC. I was at the press conference waiting on my manager and I was interested to see what was going to go on. I didn't know if they were going to announce the next title fight or anything like that.
I showed up and all of a sudden I get called out. We made eye contact and then DC starts talking smack. He has a platform up there. He has a mic. I'm just down there in the back trying to shout and something just came over me and I honestly just wanted to get my hands on him there and then. It was all emotions, then and there.
I've been thinking about this guy for so long. We were supposed to fight way back when he fought Dan Henderson. We signed a bout agreement and I took a short notice fight to fight him, and he chose to fight Dan Henderson instead. Then we were supposed to fight in New Orleans. I've known about this fight since the Phil Davis fight, so it was a good five months or so that I've been thinking about this dude and preparing for him.
Then we go to the press thing in New Orleans and he's running his mouth. We all know he likes to talk. He loves himself. It was just talk, talk talk. He was throwing little jabs here and little jabs there. Then at the press conference he tried to embarrass me and tell me I'm the easiest fight in the division and blah blah. Well we should fight then, because that's his M.O. He's had the easiest road to the title anyone has ever had, so why not fight me? That's what I want. I want to fight this dude whether it's for a title or not. All I want to do is get in there and fight him.
I think Daniel Cormier has always had a big mouth and everything, but I've been around him here and there and he was good and respectful a couple of years ago. I get the whole turning heel and saying, ‘Don't address me as Daniel, address me as champ,' and all of that kind of douchey stuff, I see what you're doing, you're trying to turn heel so you're playing it up.
But we have mutual friends that say, ‘He's changed,' and ‘He wasn't there for me at this point,' and tell me they've seen a change in him at the gym or whatnot. That's somebody I don't respect. I get playing the game and doing what you need to do to build fights, but when it comes down to personal stuff and you're going bigtime and letting stuff go to your head, that's what I don't respect at all.
There's a common denominator here. Everybody has problems with Cormier. He talks smack with Jon Jones, with Patrick Cummins, with me. He should be enjoying his time as champ at the press conference instead of calling me out. I didn't start that whole deal, he did. I feel like he has some insecurities that he's not the real champ. I think there's something going on in his head that makes him need to call out Jon Jones and call me out, and I don't think he knows what's going on in there.
I haven't had any animosity with anyone I've fought, but honestly just sitting here talking about it has me fired up. I want to go out there and take him out. After that press conference I had to go for a run and do some shadow boxing in my room. I was fired up, and maybe that's what I need sometimes.
I'm still fired up thinking about it. Every time I bring it up and hear DC talk, it aggravates me. Every time he opens his mouth... He loves himself and loves to hear himself talk, so I would love to go and shut his mouth.
We had Daniel on earlier and he had a message for you, he said you should ‘Shut your mouth before he slaps the taste out of it.' Do you have a response?
Oh, that's real original. There he goes again, talking and being disrespectful. He calls me disrespectful, but he's been disrespectful to everybody his whole career. He's a talker. He has that platform. He has his Fox Sports 1 shows and everything to talk on. That's why they have him on there.
He loves himself and he can't shut his mouth. He's got a big head, he's the least deserving champion, and he's already the most arrogant champion out there after a whole three days.
You can check out the full interview in our latest episode of the Three Amigos Podcast right HERE