Daniel Cormier had an interesting perspective going into UFC 200. According to his recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, the UFC light heavyweight champion was second-guessing his preparation before a pivotal bout with Jon Jones (due to Jones getting removed late, it ended up being Anderson Silva). So why was that?
It’s because his gym, American Kickboxing Academy, had acquired the reputation of being a place where a lot of fighters got hurt in training. They were trying to implement things to change that, and Cormier was concerned about staying healthy before the bout - to the point that he didn’t feel right on the cage. And he’s not going to let that happen again (transcribed by MMA Fighting):
"For me, I felt a little bit off. I felt like I didn't do as much as I needed to do and it really messed with me mentally. Now, I spar a lot and I run a lot and I train a lot. It's the only way that I feel secure in my own mind."
Now, Cormier has indeed suffered an injury that forced him out of a UFC 206 title defense. Does it have to do with going too hard in the gym? Possibly. Is he going to tone it down again in hopes of staying healthy? Nope.
"How can you train if you're constantly worried about getting injured?" Cormier said. "Guys play basketball and get hurt and that's probably the easiest sport on the planet. We're actually fighting every day. We're wrestling, we're grappling."
He also wants it to be clear that it’s on him, no one else. He offered up an argument that most people ignore - coaches like Javier Mendez work for him, so how can they really enforce any rules regarding how hard they go in practice?
"It's not Javier's fault," Cormier said. "This isn't college. We're not high-school athletes. Javier can tell me not to spar and I'll be like, ‘Yeah sure, Jav.' And then I'll go spar.
"People always get confused. They talk about coaches. The reality is, these coaches and managers that everybody thinks are in so much control, they work for us. They're our employees."
If people want to point fingers, Cormier said, they should start with him.
"The decisions are mine," he said. "If I got hurt, it was my fault."
Cormier hopes to return in February or March according to the interview, but is still debating whether to have surgery on his torn adductor muscle or not.