Daniel Cormier has made it official, that regardless of a win or a loss, he’ll be heading to light-heavyweight after UFC 166 and his bout with Roy Nelson.
Although not revelatory, it does confirm what many have thought for a long time, which is, that Cormier has no intentions of staying in a division that his teammate and best friend, Cain Velasquez, is not only competing in, but is champion of.
In commenting on the subject to “Inside MMA”, Cormier stated:
"This is going to be my last fight at heavyweight. I wanted to start to diet and move closer to the weight division where I was comfortable making the weight. I feel like I'm in that place, now. It does have a lot to do with me not wanting to fight Cain Velasquez, but I also want to be a champion of the UFC, and if I'm not going to fight for the belt at heavyweight, then I've got to find a division where I can compete for the championship.”
The interesting book on Cormier is the absolute belief and confidence that he has in himself.
He attends convinced that he could be champion of the heavyweight division, save for the presence of Cain Velasquez. He further believes that a championship belt at light-heavyweight is no more than a mere 40 pounds away, and that the weight cut might be more troublesome than a fight with current 205 division champion, Jon Jones.
However, Jones is unlike any fighter that Cormier has ever faced and in taking on the undefeated champion (sorry, but I refuse to acknowledge his DQ loss to Matt Hamill) he’ll be facing a monumental task.
First, let’s address the question of process; he has to get the fight.
As it’s unlikely that Cormier will simply be handed a title shot at 205 and as Jones’s dance card is already booked two fights in advance (Glover Teixeira & a re-match with Alexander Gustafsson), he’ll have to take at least one fight at light-heavyweight prior to getting a championship bout.
The natural choice of match-up for Cormier at 205 would be Phil Davis. In taking on Davis, Cormier would have a stiff opponent in front of him and one of similar style and background.
Further, he’d be facing an opponent that has a seven inch reach advantage on him, and one that has never been KO’d or submitted in a fight. In a word, “Mr. Wonderful” is no joke and would mark a solid test for Cormier in terms of where he stands within the division.
However and assuming that Cormier would get past Davis, he’d then have to deal with “the man”, himself.
At 6’4”, Jon Jones will have five inches in height over Cormier, as well as an astounding 13 inches in reach advantage. To the point, “Bones” is a master of using his height and reach to keep his opponents at bay and deliver devastating damage from range. The odds of Cormier, at 5’ 11, simply walking through the champ’s defenses are probably low. As such, Cormier is going to have to find a way to get to Jones first and that could prove easier said, than done.
Beyond that, Jones seems to be devoid of any holes in his game. The champion is great everywhere and anywhere a fight may go, and he’s proven time and again, that he’s better than any wrestler, ground specialist, stand-up artist or power puncher that he’s faced.
Granted, Cormier has a ton of power and there’s probably no man in the UFC that will take him down, but then again, Jones has the same or similar attributes. As such and in a straight up comparison, Jones has everything Cormier has and more.
Further, as Cormier has let it be known that he doesn’t have a lot of respect for Jones, at least in the sense that he feels he can easily beat the champion, Jones might come into the ring with a chip on his shoulder and looking to prove a point; that a match between the two has become or will become personal, to Jones. As such, that’s only apt to further motivate an already motivated and talented champion.