UFC newcomer Patrick Cummins has the opportunity of a lifetime when he squares off with Daniel Cormier in the co-main event of February 22’s UFC 170 from Las Vegas. Undefeated at 4-0, former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler Cummins stepped in as a late replacement for former champion Rashad Evans when “Suga” hurt his knee in training.
Cormier is set to make his light heavyweight debut at UFC 170, and that was almost switched to UFC 172. But, “DC” kept looking for a fight, and for good reason. Evans’ injury is reportedly a lot worse than was first released, making Cormier’s insistence the right move.
He’ll meet up with a former training partner in Cummins, and that dynamic is adding some hype to what should be an otherwise one-sided destruction for the undefeated Cormier. Undeterred, Cummins insisted on last night’s FOX Sports Live that he used to make Cormier ‘cry’ in wrestling practice, to which “DC” was fast to respond with his own barb:
"That's the key right there, I was getting ready for the Olympics. Charissa, this is the problem. Pat's never been the guy. I was the guy. The training was focused around me. It wasn't just Pat Cummins that was wrestling me. It was Pat Cummins and everybody else coming in and wrestling me.
And also, I was going through some personal issues at the time, but Pat Cummins, you need to be careful what you saying bud, things that happen in that wrestling room stay in the wrestling room. So not only have you crossed the line, but you have completely put yourself in my crosshairs.”
In truth, Cummins may be barking up the wrong tree, but in reality he simply has nothing to lose. His manager has reported that more than 50 light heavyweights have turned down a bout with Cummins since he started fighting in MMA in late 2012. That doesn’t matter at this point because the biggest name on that list signed on to fight him.
For his part, Cummins appears confident in what may very well turn out to be a losing effort. However, that didn’t stop him from using the opportunity to take a shot at Cormier’s well-documented struggles with making weight:
“I like being underestimated. The biggest thing I'm worried about is what percentage of Daniel's purse I'm going to get when he doesn't make weight. Can we come to an agreement right now on what we are going to do? Let's say 20, 30 percent? Let's go for 30. How's that? I know that I can push him and he will break. I mean it's plain and simple, plain and simple."
The young upstart sounds brash and confident, not offering much in the way of respect for the former Olympian and national champion wrestler Cormier. But to Cummins that doesn’t matter, because he’s now in the UFC being pushed by its president on national television.
Was this a rushed and thrown together attempt at sparking controversy and hype over a fight that most are saying is a laughable mismatch? Or does Cummins truly have a chance at defeating his former training partner? Until we see evidence that he can, it’s tough to say this won’t be a lopsided beatdown.