Daniel Cormier may have retained his light heavyweight championship via close split decision against Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of last Saturday’s (October 3, 2015) UFC 192, but he didn’t escape the hard-fought battle without a few bumps and bruises of his own.
“DC” may have been expected to wrestle “The Mauler” first and foremost, yet the champion did the opposite and exactly and beat Gustafsson in his strong point of striking, squeaking by him on the momentum of a strong final round. Last night Cormier appeared on UFC Tonight (via UFC on FOX), a show he usually co-hosts but couldn’t due to the amount of damage he absorbed in the classic scrap, to heap praise upon the resilient Gustafsson for his effort that nearly finished the fight in the middle round:
“I got hit with that nee, and the knee hurt, but I think I would have been able to stand up to the knee, but it was the left hook that followed that really put me down, and I was like’ Wow, this not good,” because I was really cruising in that third round, and then I felt like I gave him the third round by getting knocked down. I felt I was okay until I moved away from him, but that was easily the most hurt in my career. I went on cruise control afterwards and when Alex went to finish, I was able to grab his leg and get right back up. I just kinda wish I was smarter, because when I got back up, instead of clinching him, I tried to push him away and start fighting again; that’s actually some ridiculous stuff.”
“DC” continued on with his respect for “The Mauler,” adding that Gustafsson is definitely one of the best and toughest fighters in the universe:
“I think he’s an A-plus fighter; A-plus fighter and a really good guy I’ve always like Alexander, so even every time I saw him, we treated each other with nothing but respect. He’s one of the best in the world. Even though he didn’t get the decision, this guy’s a champion inside of that octagon every time he goes in there.””
The champ inevitably moved on to discuss his next opponent, stating the obvious that while Ryan Bader has probably earned his shot at the belt, a rematch with returning rival Jon Jones is his preferred next bout:
“Ryan Bader really did stick it to me last Saturday by beating Rashad. He’s not following the rules; he’s not playing the rules we set out for him. Bader has completely changed the game; he is doing things that a lot of people didn’t think were possible. He has by far earned the title shot, but that beings said, if Jon Jones is ready, I’m ready to go.
“This is the fight that I want to be involved in, this is the fight that the fans wanna see, and this is the biggest fight that the UFC can put together. Jon and I did big business in January, and I believe we do bigger business whenever we do fight again. And honestly, the UFC is a business, and with that being said Ryan, I apologize, but I think he’s going to have to fight again. And I think he knows that, because he said if he doesn’t get a title shot he’s going to fight Glover Teixeira again, so I think he understands, you know, I think he understands what’s going on in this business.”