Daniel Cormier doesn’t like to see a man kicked while he’s down - especially not one of his own teammates and friends.
On Tuesday, two-time UFC light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson took to Instagram to call out former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold after his devastating knockout loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 221.
Gustafsson, 31, accused Cormier of holding the light heavyweight division ‘hostage’ and declared his intention to KO Rockhold while ‘DC’ pursues heavyweight gold in hopes of becoming a simultaneous two-division champion.
@lukerockhold , your teammate is holding MY Division hostage, and you think there are only easy fights at LHW. If u think Romero hits hard, then wait till you come to the big boys. I want @dc_mma , and knocking u out will keep me warm in the meantime. Beware of coming up in weight because I will be standing at the front door waiting.
Cormier, who edged out a split decision win over Gustafsson back in 2015, didn’t take kindly to ‘The Mauler’s’ words and mocked the Swede in a series of tweets.
First, Cormier took took aim at their championship bout at UFC 192, where Gustafsson was gifted another title shot despite coming off a devastating KO loss to Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson at UFC on FOX 14.
Cormier joked that, despite losing to Romero, Rockhold should go on to challenge Whittaker for the middleweight belt.
Nice timing Alexander(kick him while he’s down huh). I got a better idea tho he doesn’t fight you next. He fights Robert Whitaker, I mean sometimes that happens right. You lose your way into a title shot! #thegustafsonway— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) February 15, 2018
Cormier, who trains with Rockhold at San Jose’s American Kickboxing Academy under renowned coach Javier Mendez, went on to claim that he could have easily wrestled Gustafsson to a unanimous decision at UFC 192.
It was tough because I fought him that way. I could have made the whole fight look like round 1. Think about this tho. He lost a 5 round stand up fight to me. By the end of the fight he was the one wrestling lol https://t.co/peOEGKEyq6— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) February 15, 2018
Cormier ended up standing toe-to-toe with Gustafsson in a back-and-forth brawl and says he did it to prove himself as a worthy champ.
2015 was big year for me. With the way I won belt all the fake champ claims I felt I had to prove something. Had to do it better than Jones. Do something to try and clear the shadow a bit. So I fought him like that. We fight again tho he’s on his back whole fight https://t.co/Jn1DX69Lo5— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) February 15, 2018
Cormier did, however, cruise to a unanimous decision over Anderson Silva at UFC 200. The reason he repeatedly took down Silva — and not Gustafsson — was because of respect.
Hadn’t trained for him and I respected him. And the takedowns were so easy. He’s a legend I fought him smart. I am not afraid to stand with people https://t.co/clSuHq4lpS— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) February 15, 2018
As for Rockhold, the Californian has flirted with a move up to the light heavyweight division in the past but hasn’t mentioned anything since his knockout loss to ‘Soldier of God’.