Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier is undefeated in his short stint in the UFC after picking up a debut win over Frank Mir at UFC on FOX 7 and following it up with a decision victory over Roy Nelson at UFC 166.
However, he hasn’t exactly delivered on his substantial amount of hype in letting both of his fights go to the judges. Despite his buzz fading a bit after coming into the Octagon with a ton of hype behind him, Cormier is still undefeated and set for a huge fight.
“DC” will make the transition down to light heavyweight in order to face former UFC 205-pound champion Rashad Evans at February 22’s UFC 170.
He’s making the cut to avoid facing off with his good friend and training partner, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. And while Cormier’s struggles with weight cutting as an Olympic wrestler are well documented, he told AXS TV’s Inside MMA that he’s actually going to be better at 205:
“I think I’m a better fighter right now, man, because not only am I more active and more athletic and in better shape, I’m actually getting better because time has passed since I’ve fought at 240. So the time in the gym I’ve spent getting better and working on my craft, I think the smaller guy wins because I’m a better fighter now than I was six months ago.”
Cormier raises an interesting point when he focuses on his evolution as a fighter. Indeed he trains with one of the best gyms in MMA at American Kickboxing Academy, and his constant grinding sessions there have certainly honed his craft. He did seem to get better in the time between his fight with Mir and his win over “Big Country;” it remains to be seen if he can continue that improvement against Evans.
“Suga” has been on a bit of streak himself, winning two straight over decent competition in Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen. However, “DC” is a challenge on a much higher level than either of those two aging superstars, so Evans will have his hands full when he faces off with Cormier at the Mandalay Bay Evens Center in Las Vegas.
A lot of this fight is going to come down to how effective Cormier’s weight cut was. If he can make 205 pounds without putting his body through too much stress, he should be the decided favorite. But, that’s no easy task.
Will “DC” show up to UFC 170 in shape and ready to fight, or will the drastic cut leave his body too drawn to take advantage of the size advantage he should have over “Suga”?