Daniel Cormier goes big in quest to make history

Updated July 6, 2018 - 8:39 pm

Daniel Cormier will step in the cage Saturday night for the main event of UFC 226 at T-Mobile Arena intent on a history-making win to cement his legacy.

Stipe Miocic is just trying to win a fight.

Cormier, the light heavyweight champion, is moving up to challenge the heavyweight champ for the possibility of following in the footsteps of Conor McGregor as the only fighters to simultaneously hold UFC belts in two weight classes.

“When this is all said and done, I will be remembered as the greatest of all time,” Cormier said.

The bout will headline a pay-per-view card at 7 p.m. that also includes a heavyweight bout between contenders Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou. Two preliminary card bouts will stream on Fight Pass at 4 with Fox Sports 1 airing four bouts at 5 p.m.

A win over Miocic would go a long way toward proving Cormier’s claim. He has an impeccable resume, both earlier in his career as a heavyweight and now as the light heavyweight champion, against everyone not named Jon Jones.

The only times Cormier has even looked vulnerable were the two times he lost to Jones, though one was overturned to a no-contest because of a positive drug test. That has tarnished the legacy of Jones and opened the door for Cormier to claim the moral high ground in the debate over the best fighter of all-time.

“I should be in the conversation,” Cormier said. “Anytime a guy does performance-enhancing drugs, and on multiple occasions, they eliminate themselves. So as great as Anderson Silva was, he tested positive I think two times. Jones had tested positive two or three times. Those guys eliminate themselves. I want to be among the great, the Georges St. Pierres and the Demetrious Johnsons, the guys that have done things the correct way over the course of their entire career without that asterisk.”

A win over Miocic, the first-ever UFC heavyweight champion to defend the belt successfully three times, would give Cormier a compelling case.

The elite college wrestler made two Olympic teams before transitioning to mixed martial arts and dominating the competition as a heavyweight. He won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix in 2012 against some of the best competition in the world at the time and defeated Frank Mir and Roy Nelson in his first two UFC fights.

Cormier elected to drop to light heavyweight only because his friend Cain Velasquez held the UFC heavyweight belt at the time. Now he is ready to move back up to heavyweight for at least this fight, and he weighed in at 246 pounds, 3 more than Miocic.

“The heavyweights don’t move like us,” Cormier said. “They can’t go as hard as me. I haven’t lost a wrestling match at heavyweight. I haven’t lost a fight at heavyweight. I haven’t lost a round at heavyweight. And Stipe Miocic is the guy that’s supposed to do it? Great guy. Firefighter, hero. But Saturday, I’m the new champion.”

Miocic, a grown-up goofball far more likely to prank someone than talk trash, is unsurprisingly taking the massive superfight in stride.

“It’s another fight for me,” he said. “I’m excited. I love being champ. I worked way too hard for it to give it up now.”

One thing Cormier said did seem to catch Miocic’s attention. Cormier laid out his belief that the oddsmakers have the fight wrong making Miocic about a minus-240 favorite because while Cormier can win through his wrestling and submissions, or through the clinch or potentially even as a boxer, Miocic may need to rely solely on his power.

“That’s fine,” Miocic retorted. “I knock people out and I win. That’s what I do. Guess what? He’s getting knocked out too.”

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Covering The Cage Videos
UFC 235 press conference highlights
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman have a heated exchange and Ben Askren enjoys his time on the stage by interacting with UFC president Dana White.
UFC president Dana White talks UFC 235 and more
UFC president Dana White joined Heidi Fang and Adam Hill to discuss the UFC 235 card set for Las Vegas on Mar. 2 at the T-Mobile Arena and also spoke on Colby Covington and Khabib Nurmagomedov's and Conor McGregor's disciplinary measures given by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Full version available on Facebook at Review-Journal Sports
Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman Have Heated Exchange At UFC 235 Presser - VIDEO
UFC 235 opened with Jon Jones returning after his meeting at the Nevada Athletic commission, Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman arguing on stage and Ben Askren making his UFC debut.
NAC Chairman says it's time to tone down MMA smack talk ahead of fights
After announcing the fines and suspensions given to Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov for their involvement in a melee at UFC 229 in Las Vegas, Nevada Athletic Commission Chairman Anthony Marnell said it may be time to address "mouthy fighters" smack talk and conduct leading up to a fight.
Jones, NAC Chairman issue statements following Jones' licensing approval for UFC 235
The Nevada Athletic Commission issued UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones a conditional one-fight license to compete at UFC 235 taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on Mar. 2. Jones had to reapply for a license in Nevada after failing a drug test which led to UFC 232 being moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California.
UFC donates $240,000 to Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada
UFC presents Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada with $240,000 donation and promises to grant more wishes as the partnership goes forward.
Benavidez on his new contract, future of the UFC flyweight division
UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez, who is booked to fight Dustin Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 143 on ESPN Plus, discusses his role as an alternate for the title fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo, his new 4-fight contract and the future of the 125-pound division.
Covering the Cage: Jones, Nunes win at UFC 232
Amanda Nunes defeats Cyborg in the women's featherweight division and Jon Jones returns to UFC as the light heavyweight champion. Covering the Cage host Heidi Fang and Adam Hill recap the UFC 232 main and co main events.
Las Vegas MMA fighter Joey Ruquet joins Copa Combate tournament
When Combate Americas' Copa Combate tournament takes place on Dec. 7, Las Vegas-based MMA fighter Joey Ruquet will step in for Gaston Reyno and compete for the $100,000 prize money in the 8-man, one night featherweight tournament.
Espino, Chiasson claim UFC contracts with wins at TUF 28 Finale
Juan Espino was crowned as the TUF heavyweight winner when he submitted Justin Frazier at the finale in Las Vegas and Macy Chiasson submitted Pannie Kianzad to become the TUF 28 women's featherweight winner.
Kamaru Usman excited for what's next after TUF 28 win
After taking a win over Rafael dos Anjos at the TUF 28 Finale, UFC welterweight Kamaru Usman says he can be ready for anything that comes next or a quick turnaround if it gets him closer to a title shot.
Dana White on what's next for Usman and the flyweight division
UFC president Dana White spoke with media after the TUF 28 Finale to discuss what's next for the flyweight division and the main event winner, UFC welterweight Kamaru Usman.
Dos Anjos and Usman TUF 28 media day
Rafael dos Anjos and Kamaru Usman talk about facing each other at the TUF 28 Finale at a media day leading up to the Nov. 30 contest. Their welterweight bout will serve as the main event.
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing