Daniel Cormier: I Have To Make ‘Rumble’ Question Himself

daniel cormier

This week No. 3-ranked UFC light heavyweight Daniel Cormier got his second title shot in as many fights, and he didn’t even have to win another one after losing to Jon Jones in the main event of UFC 182 back in January.

Cormier was handed a do-over for the belt when Jones was stripped of the belt following a felony arrest for his alleged involvement in an Albuquerque hit-and-run accident last Sunday. Set to face surging contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in the main event of May 23’s fast-approaching UFC 187 from Las Vegas, Cormier believes that the bout certainly is for the real light heavyweight championship.

And while Johnson claimed that his gameplan is relatively the same despite the switch – he still plans on ‘whooping some a** – Cormier is bringing a more calculated approach to the fight. Giving ‘Rumble’ his due respect in a recent interview with MMAMania, Cormier noted that, deep down, he believes Johnson is still the fighter that tapped out to Josh Koscheck and Vitor Belfort rear-naked chokes years ago:

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“He’s a monster. He’s an absolute monster and I think what’s good about AJ now is he is in his right division. What I mean is, I believe that deep down in there behind all the muscle, intensity, meanness, toughness, it’s still there (the Johnson who lost to Koscheck and Belfort). But you know what? If I can’t go and find that and make him go back to being that guy, it doesn’t matter; he will win that fight. So, I can say that, but [I need] the ability to actually make him question himself and make him fight from behind and make him dig deep.”

It’s a tall order to make the ultra-confident ‘Rumble’ question himself during his illustrious win streak that’s seen him destroy Phil Davis, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Alexander Gustafsson in one-sided fashion. Cormier knows this, so he believes the onus is on him to make ‘Rumble’ revert back to the fighter that was not as unstoppable as he now appears:

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“He knocked out everybody in the WSOF except for Arlovski and Arlovski really didn’t do all that much to him. He just beat on Phil Davis for 15 minutes. He just beat Phil up. So he hasn’t really been pushed since he’s been back to the UFC. So, I guess it’s up to me to make him turn back to that guy.”

‘DC’ is realistic enough to know that if he cannot enact that gameplan, he’ll almost assuredly suffer his second straight loss after going undefeated for the first 15 fights of his career, a stretch that saw Cormier hardly take any damage. He’s also willing to admit that there are things he can be pigeonholed for depending on, as well, so he knows that if he can’t make Johnson go back to his lesser form, he will almost certainly lose the fight:

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“If I can’t do it then the dude will win the fight. It’s on me. If I can’t make Anthony do that then I won’t. But again, when I say at his core, it’s in there. I’m pretty sure they can find something about me that I’ve done over the course of my career that they will point to and say ‘at his core, Daniel will do this.’ It’s a pretty fair assessment, actually.”