Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Cormier’

UFC 170 Live Blog: Rousey wins in first round again

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Ronda Rousey wins in UFC 170

Ronda Rousey made quick work of Sara McMann with this knee at UFC 170 in Las Vegas. (AP)

Daniel Cormier had an easy first-round victory over Cummins. (AP)

Daniel Cormier had an easy first-round victory over Patrick Cummins. (AP)

UFC Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey didn’t need her savvy judo game in her ninth career bout, as she utilized brutal knees to the body to stop Olympic wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann one minute and six seconds into the first round of Saturday’s UFC 170 main event in Las Vegas.  Rousey said she’d sparred her entire preparation camp. This is the first of Rousey’s bouts that she hasn’t ended via armbar. Check out‘s round-by-round recap of the entire main card below.

Main Card Results

Ronda Rousey def. Sara McMann – TKO (knee) 1:06 R1

Daniel Cormier def. Patrick Cummins  - TKO (strikes) 1:19 R1

Rory MacDonald def. Demian Maia – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)

Mike Pyle def. T.J. Waldburger  - TKO (strikes) 4:03 R1

Stephen Thompson def. Robert Whittaker – TKO (strikes) 3:43 R1


Women’s Bantamweight Championship: Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann

Sara McMann is the only challenger with similar Olympic credentials to Rousey. She’s a 2004 Olympic silver medalist (7-0) with obvious physical strength, something that might make a difference against Rousey, who’s been able to bully her previous opponents. McCann’s preference is top control and some good ‘ole ground-and-pound. The problem is Rousey (8-0) can maneuver her armbar assault from just about any position. The X-factor is the stand-up (neither woman is an ace there yet) and Rousey’s movie star distractions. No matter what she says, she hasn’t had the dedicated time to work her weak spots. Will McMann be able to capitalize?

11:47 p.m. – Main event time. Sara McMann enters first with a T-shirt that reads “ETG.” Embrace The Grind. Rousey follows, mean-mugging an invisible opponent in front of her.

11:55 p.m. – The women take center for instructions.  They touch gloves. Our referee is Herb Dean.

R1 – It’s a brawl from the get go, both women throwing for the fences. McMann gets in the best strike and Rousey pushes it to the fence. McMann is defending well; Rousey is attacking with knees. Rousey throws a vicious body knee and McMann crumbles, her arms grasping her mid-section (liver shot). It’s all over.

 Official Result - Ronda Rousey def. Sara McMann – TKO (knee) 1:06 R1

Light Heavyweight: Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins

Though Cormier and Cummins have gone above and beyond to promote this bout, it’s hard to get excited for a last-minute replacement fight between a 4-0 newcomer and a 13-0 contender on the outskirts of the contender’s circle.

Regardless, the two have had “beef” this week: the short of it is Cummins, a two-time All-American, made Cormier cry during an especially grueling wrestling session when Cormier was training for his Olympic bid. Apparently, UFC President Dana White booked the fight on this story. I’d gripe about this move, but why bother? Cormier has a good shot of knocking Cummins out.

11:29 p.m.  - Goldie and Rogan going into overdrive to hype this next one. “Make no mistake. Pat Cummins deserves to be in the UFC,” says Rogan. At this point, everybody is making it into the UFC.

11:34 p.m.  - Cormier jogs quickly to the Octagon. He looks determined. Cormier makes his Octagon lap. He looks all business; borderline peeved. Our referee is Mario Yamasaki.

R1 – Cormier shrugs off Cummins half-shot. Cormier with an uppercut that hurts Cummins off the bat. Cormier taking his time. Cormier lands a left-right and Cummins goes down. Cummins turtled and Cormier lays on the hurt. This is over in no time.

Official Result: Daniel Cormier def. Patrick Cummins  - TKO (strikes) 1:19 R1

Welterweight: Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia

This is the first bout on the card tonight that has actual ramifications for its division. Let’s start with Rory MacDonald (15-2), touted as the second coming of Georges St. Pierre, his mentor. MacDonald lived up to the hype with decision wins over Jake Ellenberger and B.J. Penn, but hit a brick wall with Robbie Lawler last November – a split-decision loss that cost him a title shot now that GSP has stepped down as champ. MacDonald had his hands full with Lawler; he needs a decisive showing tonight to get back in the title hunt.

BJJ master Maia (18-5) was on a roll in his drop to 170 with back-to-back wins over Dong Hyun Kim, Rick Story, and Jon Fitch (February 2013). His split-decision loss to Jake Shields last October slowed down that train. Taking MacDonald out will get things back on track, though the young Canadian is quick on his feet.

R1 – Maia shoots immediately and Mac sprawls. Maia shoots again and gets the TD this time into Mac’s guard. Maia is aggressive tonight. Mac has butterfly guard, trying to fend off the BJJ ace. Maia with an elbow and passes to side and then mount. Maia with punches. Mac trying to buck him off. Mac is trapped. Maia landing more punches. Mac tries to backdoor out and Maia maintains half guard. 1:30 to go. Mac fights to butterfly guard. Tactical battle here, folks. Maia is smothering Mac. Mac finally to his feet with :45 to go. Maia with inside left kick. Maia is with strong combo. He’s looking good. Mac bleeding on bridge of his nose. Maia 10-9

R2 – Mac comes in strong with a combo. Maia with nice left hook to a shot; Mac sprawls. Maia with jab; then a big left.  Maia shoots; Mac sprawls again. Mac with body kick and Maia shoots again. No go. Maia slowing down fast. Mac is picking up momentum. Mac with a combo. Maia looks hurt, groggy on his feet.  Maia shoots again. Not even close. Mac starting to stalk. 1:45 to go. Mac with an inside leg kick; follow-up right. Mac with body kick and Maia stumbles a bit. He’s not landing his strikes anymore. Mac with another body kick. :30 to go. Mac misses a superman punch.  Big reversal of fortune here. Mac 10-9

R3 – Mac takes center. Maia with another lame shot.  Mac with another body kick – these are killing Maia. Mac with straight right. Maia shoots again and pays for it with a punch retreating out. Maia throwing flailing overhand lefts. Maia grabs a single, musters the strength to lift Mac and body slam him. Not sure where he got the energy for that, but he’s got 2:30 to cinch this fight up. Maia trying to pass guard; his face is bloody. Mac bucks Maia over his head and is back to his feet. This is going down to the wire. Maia with another half shot and another. Mac sprawling away. Mac with front kick. Maia with another sprawl and Mac tags him with an uppercut on the way out. Maia is just swinging wildly at this point. He’s spent. Mac tags Maia with a right. Another right and a combo to finish. Mac 10-9

11:25 p.m.  - “The animal is back.” — MacDonald

 Official Result: Rory MacDonald def. Demian Maia – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)

Mike Pyle vs. T.J. Waldburger 

The 38-year-old Pyle (25-9) is entering the final phase of his career on a respectable note. He’s won four of his last five UFC bouts (eight of his 12 UFC appearances); Matt Brown took him out in the last with a 29-second KO six months ago. A win over Waldburger won’t put Pyle any closer to title contention…

…but Waldburger (16-8) stands to gain more with a win over the veteran Pyle. The 25-year-old Texan is also coming off a first-round KO loss – his to Adlan Amagov last October.

10:28 p.m. – Waldburger enters first to ACDC. Pyle enters with a big smile and his magic mullet. Our referee is Herb Dean.

R1 –  Wald takes center. Feeling each other out. Pyle with soft outside low kick. Pyle with inside left kick that Wald returns. Clinch and Wald pushes Pyle to fence. Wald drops levels for a single; Pyle keeping him at bay. They separate and back to center. Wald slips on a high kick but recovers. Wald with left hook. 2:30 to go. Wald with overhead right and follow-up right. Clinch and Pyle trips Wald down and into side control. Pyle passes to side control. Pyle with sporadic punches, knee to Wald’s side. 1:00 to go. Wald bounces out and up. Pyle has Wald in Thai clinch, lands knee. Wald on outside along  fence. Pyle keeps the clinch; another sold knee as they travel off fence to opposite side of cage. Pyle trips Wald at bell. Pyle 10-9

R2 – Wald forward with high kick that Pyle blocks easy. Wald with outside low kick. Pyle with straight left and Wald goes down, but grabs a leg on the way. Pyle twists out and maneuvers into half guard. Wald trying to set up guillotine; Pyle out. Wald wall-walks and Pyle knees him on the way up. Back to center. Wald bleeding from his nose. Pyle with spinning back kick; Wald blocks. Wald looks like he’s tiring a bit. Wald initiates clinch and pushes Pyle to fence again. We stall here in a fight for control. Pyle takes Wald’s back and rolls him down. Wald bounces back to his feet and tries to double-leg Pyle down. :30 to go. Back to center again and not much else to bell. Pyle 10-9

R3 – Wald bleeding from his left eye and nose. Wald picks up his pace; he knows he’s down. Pyle with a nice right. Wald with a left hook. Wald with body shot. Pyle with overhand right. Another right and Wald stumbles. Clinch and Pyle lands again.  Spinning back fist from Pyle and follow-up knees from Thai clinch. Wald pushes Pyle to fence to slow him down. Ties him up. 2:20 to go. Wald with knee in clinch. Knees and two elbows from Pyle. He has Wald in trouble; rolls Wald into guillotine. Wald turtles and its follow-up shots from back mount. Wald can’t defend and ref Dean finally steps in.

10:52 p.m.: “His leg quicks were hard. We expected a battle and we got it,” says Pyle. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith flash across our screen.

Official Result: Mike Pyle def. T.J. Waldburger  - TKO (strikes) 4:03 R1

Welterweight: Stephen Thompson vs. Robert Whittaker

“Wonderboy” Thompson (8-1) has rebounded well enough from his sole career loss to Matt Brown last April with victories over Nah-Shon Burrell (May 2013) and Chris Clementes (Sept. 2013). He has potential in the division — especially as a quick, crowd-pleasing striker — but needs more time for development.

Whittaker (11-3) should be a fine challenge. He took gritty TUF winner Court McGee to task last August, narrowly dropping a spilt-decision loss to the tough-as-nails fighter.

R1 –  Whit takes center cage. Whit in with a jab; Thompson taking side stance. Good pace from both to start. Thompson with a right hook; then a left a few seconds later. Thompson landing front, side kicks; Whit has slowed down his attack. Thompson forward with a landing combo. Whit starting to chase Thompson down; lands here and there, but Thompson is generally circling out. Thompson with hook kick. Thompson standing in front of Whit, doesn’t look afraid of Whit’s striking. They continue to exchange. Thompson lands a big right straight and Whit goes down, tries to get his feet and is knocked down again in the Thai clinch with knees. Follow-up shots and referee Yamasaki stops it.

Official Result: Stephen Thompson def. Robert Whittaker – TKO (strikes) 3:43 R1

10:23 p.m. – Thompson very polished in his post-fight interview. Stone Cold Steve Austin and UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the house.

Preliminary Results

  • Alexis Davis def. Jessica Eye – Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Raphael Assuncao def. Pedro Munhoz – Unanimous Decision (30-27 all)
  • Aljamain Sterling def. Cody Gibson – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)
  • Zach Makovsky def. Josh Sampo  – Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Erik Koch def. Rafaello Oliveira – TKO (punches) 1:24 R1
  • Ernest Chavez def. Yosdenis Cedeno – Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27

  • Published On Feb 22, 2014
  • UFC’s Daniel Cormier to Jon Jones: “We can fight at 220 [pounds] tomorrow”

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    Jon Jones

    Jon Jones retained his light heavyweight title at AFC 159 in April via a first roudn TKO. (Gregory Payan/AP)

    LAS VEGAS — Apparently word got around that Daniel Cormier was going to be taking questions from fans on Friday afternoon at MGM Grand Garden Arena prior to the weigh-ins for UFC 160.

    The news reached all the way to Moscow, where Jon Jones is presenting a mixed martial arts seminar. And the light heavyweight champion couldn’t help but tweak the undefeated heavyweight who keeps talking about cutting down to 205 pounds and beating him up. “Someone ask DC when his diet starts,” Jones wrote on Twitter.

    When Cormier caught wind of the “Bones” tweet, he sidetracked the Q&A session by playfully but forcefully telling the next fan who stepped to the microphone, “OK, your question is to ask me, for Jon Jones, if I’ve started cutting weight yet.” That got a rise out of the crowd, as did the answer Cormier provided the champ: “I haven’t started cutting weight yet. But we can fight at 220 tomorrow if you want. He can walk off the street at whatever he weighs now, and we can fight. Let’s fight at any weight, Jon, you and I.”

    Hmm, Jones has been talking about moving up to heavyweight. But dueling bravado aside, it seems more likely that Cormier will aim for a challenge of Jones at 205 at the end of the year. First he plans to trim from his current 235 pounds to 220 for a heavyweight fight in August or September. He expressed an interest in the winner between Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum, who meet in Brazil in two weeks.

    If Cormier should get past one of those heavies, it would be down to 205 for him. That clearly will be a challenge for a man who likes to eat as much as Daniel does. What will he have to cut from his diet? “Gumbo,” said the native of Lafayette, Louisiana. “Jambalaya. Red beans and rice. All of the Louisiana food.” As he said this, he looked sad.

    Cormier perked up, however, when he told fans that after the weigh-ins he was planning on taking Cain Velasquez, who defends his heavyweight belt against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in Saturday’s main event, out for a movie to relax. Someone asked him if he’d be having butter on his popcorn, and he impulsively answered in the affirmative. Then caught himself. “If I’m going down,” he said, speaking of the long-range weight cut, “well, if I’m going down …” He paused. “Aw, it’s still popcorn with butter!”

    –Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On May 24, 2013
  • Frank Mir flying every week to train at renowned Albuquerque gym

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    Frank Mir is training for his next bout at the Jackson/Winkeljohn Gym.    (Steve Snowden/Getty Images)

    Frank Mir is training for his next bout at the Jackson/Winkeljohn Gym. (Steve Snowden/Getty Images)

    When asked what the strategy for UFC heavyweight Frank Mir’s upcoming heavyweight bout with former Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier will be, Mir’s trainer Greg Jackson said it simply: Stay moving.

    Moving — both in and out of the cage — best describes Mir’s approach to his April 20 bout with Cormier in San Jose’s HP Pavilion as the co-main event of the UFC on Fox 7.

    The 33-year-old former UFC World Heavyweight champion who lost his last fight to Junior Dos Santos last May has been on the move a lot lately, and not just when Jackson instructs him to lug around a 70-pound heavy bag to build his endurance.

    Mir’s moves begin late Sunday evenings when he temporarily relocates from his family’s home in Las Vegas to his training home — Jackson/Winkeljohn Gym in Albuquerque — and ends on Fridays, when he packs up and heads home again. The Cormier camp marks the first time Mir, a Las Vegas native, has left his training home led by longtime trainer Jimmy Gifford. Gifford will remain in Mir’s corner for the UFC on FOX 7 fight.

    “There’s a real high level of competition here at [Jackson's] all times,” says Mir (16-6) and currently ranked sixth among heavyweights. “When I’m having an off moment or when I make a mistake, [Jackson’s] isn’t like other gyms where I can kinda go through the motions and still succeed and be victorious. Here, if I’m not at 100 percent, I go home with a lot of bumps and bruises.”

    While the team might be fine tuning Mir’s ability to dodge a punch, Mir’s not one to elude any of Cormier’s verbal jabs. Mir says Cormier — the third ranked heavyweight — finds himself in a no-lose situation: If he beats Mir, he immediately launches through the rankings and leapfrogs other contenders for a title shot by citing Mir’s storied past. If Cormier loses, he can explain away the loss by, yet again, citing Mir’s storied past.

    Mir prefers not to think so much about the latter possibility.

    “Anyone at heavyweight would hope for a knockout,” Mir says. “As far as submissions go, if he makes a mistake, I’ll take one of his limbs home.”

    His ability to do that, of course, depends on his willingness to keep moving — both his feet and his home — so that he could make what could be the biggest move of all: up the UFC heavyweight rankings once again.

    – Melissa Segura

  • Published On Apr 10, 2013
  • Reports: ‘Strikeforce: Champions’ event losing two of its three champions

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    Nate Marquardt (above) is the lone champion still fighting on the “Strikeforce: Champions” card that could represent the promotion’s swan song. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

    Nothing is official and no one is commenting, but it’s an open secret that the Jan. 12 fight card in Oklahoma City will be the last for the snakebit folks at Strikeforce. But before they pack up the office, there’s still a little work to be done. Someone needs to find the Wite-Out and cover over an “s,” altering “Strikeforce: Champions” to “Strikeforce: Champion.”

    The former is the name given to the event when it was officially announced a couple of weeks ago. And the label fit, given that there would three championship fights packed onto the card, along with a bout featuring the champ of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. Still, this seemed a bit like that big burst of colors and sounds and fanfare that comes at the end of a fireworks display.

    Actually, the only aspect of that fireworks analogy that works is the part about the end being near. There have been no bursts of colors lighting up the sky above Strikeforce venues lately. It’s been nothing but darkness, just dud after dud, with the last two events having been canceled and the promotion’s very existence being counted down as a matter of days.

    But Jan. 12 would at least allow the Scott Coker-led promotion to go out with a bang, with the three title fights (thus, “Champions”) and the heavyweight tussle showcasing local hero Daniel Cormier. This is Strikeforce, though, so you just knew something had to go wrong.

    First, lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez reportedly dropped off the card. There’s been no official confirmation, just a Nov. 16 report on the website of the Brazilian magazine Tatame and a vague comment that same day by UFC president Dana White, who said during an online chat with readers of the Montreal Gazette, “From what I’m hearing, and I don’t run Strikeforce, Melendez is hurt again.” Gilbert’s shoulder injury originally had forced him to pull out of a Sept. 22 defense against Pat Healy, and the loss of that main event led to the cancellation of the whole card.

    Then, on Saturday, the website MMA Corner reported that middleweight champ Luke Rockhold had suffered a wrist injury and his defense against Lorenz Lakrkin was off. The two were originally scheduled to go at it Nov. 3, but Luke injured that same wrist and the fight — as well as that entire card, too — was scratched. A disappointed Larkin gave us the closest thing that we’ve had to confirmation of the injury/cancellation report, sarcastically addressing White on Twitter: “Hey Dana, I hurt my right pinky toe, guess I can’t fight. Wish I started two years before I did so I could have skipped this [synonym for cat] era.”

    So now “Strikeforce: Champions” is down to a single champ, Nate Marquardt, who’ll defend his welterweight belt against Tarec Saffiedine. And of course there’s still Cormier, the event’s true draw for Okies. Before starting his ongoing beatdown of Strikeforce heavyweights, Daniel was an All-American and NCAA Division I runnerup wrestler at Oklahoma State. He went on to make two Olympic Games. He’ll face Dion Staring before moving over the UFC.

    But first Marquardt and especially Cormier are being fitted for head-to-toe bubble wrap. It’s in the Strikeforce supply closet, and this is likely the last chance to use it.

    – Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Nov 26, 2012
  • Strike two against Strikeforce: Nov. 3 event is second straight to be canceled

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    Daniel Cormier maintained his optimism after Strikeforce’s second straight cancellation. (US PRESSWIRE)

    Two strikes and you’re . . .  still alive?

    Strikeforce canceled its scheduled Nov. 3 event on Friday afternoon, making the Oklahoma City card the fight promotion’s second in a row to implode.

    That part of the announcement, made in a terse press release issued by both Strikeforce and television partner Showtime, was not a surprise. The unexpected part was the accompanying announcement that Showtime will air a Strikeforce event in January.

    That Strikeforce will live to fight another day — or at least is still publicly expressing its intention to do so — might flabbergast some who follow mixed martial arts. The promotion’s Sept. 29 event in Sacramento was canceled after Gilbert Melendez, scheduled to defend his lightweight championship, was injured in training and Showtime declined to televise the evening of fights without its main event. Then, after Frank Mir pulled out of the Nov. 3 event with an injury, and Strikeforce dragged its feet on announcing a replacement opponent for Daniel Cormier in the Heavyweight Grand Prix winner’s final bout before moving to the UFC, it looked like the end might be near for a promotion that parent company Zuffa already had stripped of many of its best fighters — Nick Diaz, Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem — and sent them over to its corporate cousin, the UFC.

    Earlier this week, the AXS TV show Inside MMA reported that “the Nov. 3 event is in serious jeopardy” and, citing multiple sources it did not name, that “the relationship between Strikeforce and Showtime may be coming to an end.” The report was vaguely worded — “strong possibility,” “could very possibly signify” and such — and no other media outlet was able to confirm the demise of the fight promotion. Still, both Strikeforce and Showtime officials were quick to tout the January event to quell the rumors.

    “Due to a series of injuries, we were forced to cancel the upcoming card on Nov. 3, but are already working to put together a stacked card in January,” CEO Scott Coker said in the Strikeforce statement, alluding to not just the Mir injury but also the event’s loss of a Luke Rockhold title defense after the middleweight champ was injured.

    About that “stacked card” Coker mentioned …

    “While we’re disappointed with the cancellation, we are looking forward to an even bigger Strikeforce event on Showtime early next year,” said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president & general manager, Showtime Sports.

    The enthusiasm was lost on Tim Kennedy, who was scheduled to face Trevor Smith in one of the few announced bouts on the Oklahoma City card. The middleweight took to Twitter with his frustration, writing, “Thank you @Strikeforce for letting me read about my fight being canceled on the Internet. I was 9 weeks into my fight camp. Awesome!”

    The cancellation is an especially bitter pill to swallow for Cormier, who before becoming an Olympic wrestler was an NCAA Division I runner-up at Oklahoma State. Excited for a homecoming fight, he’d been patiently waiting for an opponent to be placed in front of him, even if it meant a shortened preparation time. “I’ll fight now, no matter what,” he told last month. “I’m not bowing out. I’m not doing that to my Okies.”

    After Friday’s announcement, Cormier remained surprisingly upbeat. “Very sad about not fighting,” he wrote on Twitter, “but at the end of the day something positive will come from it. More time to train. I am with a good company. Things will be OK. Very sad and upset, but it’ll work out. @UFC, @Strikeforce and @ShoSports are all top-fight organizations. Will be fine.”

    Considering his positive outlook amid a doom-and-gloom backdrop of two straight cancelled events, Strikeforce might want to enlist Cormier to run the show from now on. Either that or turn to Tony Gwynn for guidance. In his time, the Baseball Hall of Famer built as reputation as his sport’s greatest two-strike hitter.

    —Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Oct 12, 2012
  • As Cormier plays waiting game in Strikeforce, his UFC future is unfolding

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    Daniel Cormier won the championship belt after defeating Josh Barnett during the heavyweight tournament final bout of the Strikeforce World Grand Prix in May. (Kyle Terada/US PRESSWIRE)

    TORONTO — Daniel Cormier is so close to the UFC he can taste it. The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion was in attendance at Saturday night’s UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre, watching the fights and looking for one.

    The undefeated 33-year-old has been promised a prominent spot on the UFC’s roster of big boys once he fights once more in the sister promotion. And he does have a bout scheduled for a Nov. 3 Strikeforce card in Oklahoma City. But no opponent. Frank Mir was to come over from the UFC, where he was a two-time heavyweight champion, but was injured in training and pulled out of the fight this past week.

    So now the prom is six weeks away, and Cormier (10-0) is left waiting for a dance partner. He’s hoping to hear a name early in the coming week, but he’s not fretting and he’s not setting a deadline. “When I fought ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, Strikeforce called me just five weeks before,” he told as he was waiting for the fights to begin. “And I had been in Louisiana for a few weeks, doing nothing. But I fought then, and I’ll fight now, no matter what. I’m not bowing out. I’m not doing that to my Okies.”

    Cormier has a history in the state where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plains. He wrestled at Oklahoma State, making it to the 2001 NCAA Division I final. He continued to live and train in the area for several years, twice making the U.S. Olympic team. That deep background in wrestling, aside from allowing him to dictate where fights are fought, has instilled in him a comfort level in taking on whomever whenever.

    “I’ve been training for Nov. 3 for a month,” said Cormier. “To get ready for a specific opponent, once one is in place, I just need a few weeks. It depends. Frank was a problem because he’s a southpaw, and I’ve never fought one before. But now if they bring me a conventional fighter, I can fall back into my comfort zone.”

    It’s not the softspoken Cormier’s way to call anyone out, but he must have a few names stored away in the back of his mind, right? “The only names that I have in my head are the ones that have stepped to the front and said they want to fight,” he said. “Roy Nelson said he’d do it. Pat Barry said he’d do it. Fabricio Werdum said he’d do it. Those guys are now on my radar. So I know that maybe I should start watching film on them a little bit, start training in accordance with what I might be doing against those guys.”

    How does one prepare for a fight that might be against kickboxer Barry or might be against jiu-jitsu ace Werdum? And then there’s the larger issue: Can a fight with either of them elevate Cormier’s status in the same way that the bout with Mir could have? “Any guy from the UFC could do that,” Daniel insisted, before acknowledging, “Maybe not as much as Frank Mir would have.”

    That’s an understatement. I mean, a win over Barry, who is 7-5 with losses in three of his last four fights, wouldn’t exactly put Cormier in the crosshairs of Junior dos Santos. Or, um, Cain Velasquez.

    Cormier smiled at the mention of his training partner, who by the time Daniel reaches the UFC might once again be the heavyweight champ. “I think he will be,” said the fellow American Kickboxing Academy fighter. “I really do believe it. He’s amazing.”

    Should Velasquez regain the belt in his Dec. 29 rematch with Dos Santos, Cormier’s options would be to drop to the 205-pound division — he wrestled at 211 pounds in the Olympics — or go for the heavyweight belt against his teammate. Cormier and Velasquez have discussed that latter possibility. “We’ve talked about it a little bit, not really going into detail,” said Daniel. “But we’ve always said that if a guy is a champion, it’s not fair for his teammate to have to say, ‘I’m going to be No. 2 for the rest of my career.’ So if and when the time comes, we’ll sit down as a family and discuss whether we want to go forward with that. I’ll tell you this: We would not allow it to rip us apart.”

    That’s a discussion for a different time. For now and for the foreseeable future, Cormier is working out alongside Velasquez five days a week. And as he sees it, sparring and grappling with the man he believes is the best heavyweight in the world puts him in good standing for his upcoming fight against an opponent who has not yet — “against TBA,” he jumped in. “And it doesn’t really matter who it is. When you’re training with No. 1 or No. 2 every day, the rest should take care of itself.”

    – Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Sep 23, 2012
  • CSAC re-licenses Josh Barnett for May 19 bout with Daniel Cormier

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    LOS ANGELES — The California State Athletic Commission voted 4-2 on Monday to re-license former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett for a May 19 bout against fellow Strikeforce grand prix finalist Daniel Cormier — his first fight in the state in more than three years.

    Barnett, 34, had been denied re-licensure in July 2009 for one year after a pre-fight test revealed an anabolic steroid in the fighter’s system prior to a headlining bout against Fedor Emelianenko for the now defunct Affliction promotion.

    As part of Barnett’s current application for re-licensure, the fighter had to submit to a urinalysis test around Feb. 29, of which the results came back negative for steroids. In its decision, the CSAC also stipulated that Barnett will be subject to random pre-fight urinalysis testing prior to his fight with Cormier, as well as any other bouts he accepts in California.

    On Monday, Barnett (31-5) told the attending six-member commission that he hadn’t knowingly ingested steroids prior to the 2009 test.

    “I can only assume that [the positive test] could have been from some sort of [tainted] supplementation that I unknowingly had taken,” Barnett said. “I know that I wasn’t taking steroids; that’s what I do know.”

    Barnett and his attorneys had previously begun the process to appeal the license denial in 2009, but never presented their case before the commission before the suspension expired in July 2010.

    In December 2010, Barnett appeared alone before the CSAC for re-licensure, but was instructed to return with legal representation. In the interim, Barnett fought bouts for Strikeforce in Ohio and Texas.

    When asked, Barnett also denied taking steroids prior to another positive test in 2002 conducted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

    In 2002, Barnett served a six-month suspension after a post-fight urinalysis detected three anabolic agents (Boldenone metabolite, Fluoxymesterone metabolite and Nandrolone metabolite) in his system following his victory over Randy Couture for the heavyweight title at UFC 36.

    Strikeforce general manager Scott Coker, who was in attendance at the hearing, said the promotion plans to hold the finals of its heavyweight eight-man tournament in California, possibly at San Jose’s HP Pavilion or an alternate Southern California location.

    – Loretta Hunt

  • Published On Mar 06, 2012