Not all losses are created equal. Or, maybe it’s just that Daniel Cormier hasn’t had to face losing in the cage or on the mats all that often over his career. Either way, to hear him tell it, his two defeats at the hands of Jon Jones have had a lasting effect on his psyche.
Cormier is getting set to face Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220. It’s a win he hopes will cleanse away some of the lasting “stink” of his UFC 214 loss to Jones this last summer. Get him back to feeling more like the dominant fighter, and champion, that he’s been for most of his MMA career (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“On July 29th, I was there,” Cormier said, recalling his loss to Jones on the MMA Hour. “I was in the Octagon on July 29th in Anaheim, and it was going all so good until it wasn’t anymore, and I lost the fight. So that has not changed. So I need to go out and fight against Volkan Oezdemir and beat this guy to feel like myself again. I feel like there is a stench on me. It’s almost like I got pissed on by a skunk, and I just stink everywhere I go. So until I can get a really, really good bath … to get the stink off of me by beating Volkan Oezdemir, I’ll feel as I do right now. That’s just me. I’m a competitor, man. I know I lost that fight. I can’t erase that memory. I still have nightmares.”
“Listen, I still dream about losing to Cael Sanderson in the NCAA finals,” Cormier continued. “I still dream about losing the Olympic semifinals. I still dream about losing to Jon Jones twice. For people like me, the losses don’t really go away. They don’t fade with time. They just stay with you, and they are what motivates you. That’s kinda crazy, but that’s just who I am, and I think that’s what makes me who I am, and that’s what makes me able to do the things that I’ve done over the course of my life, is that – losses don’t leave. They just kinda stay with me. I’ve been like that my entire life.”
Otherwise, Cormier admits that his ordeal with Jones has gone a long way toward divorcing him from worries over the drama surrounding potential opponents. At this point, he says, “they’re all faceless until fight night.” And that goes for Oezdemir and his potential legal trouble, stemming from an August 12th fight in a Fort Lauderdale bar, as well.
At the moment, it sounds like Oezdemir is still lined up for the next shot at the light heavyweight title. But, if that changes in the next month, Cormier is ready to “go on to the next guy.”
UFC 220 takes place on January 20th in Boston, MA at the TD Garden. The event is expected to be headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou. Daniel Cormier is set to defend his reclaimed title against Volkan Oezdemir in the co-main event.