UFC light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will face a rather common height and reach disadvantage at UFC 192, as he faces the much taller ‘Mauler’ Alexander Gustafsson in the October card’s main event. Also, as with most of his fights, it’s a general belief that Cormier’s Olympic pedigree wrestling is what will set him apart from the Swedish title challenger in Houston, Texas, as we’ve grown used to seeing ‘DC’ grind the will out of his competition in the octagon.
According to the man himself though, it’s a little bit different this time around. Through watching Gus fight, and also have many fights against much bigger foes, the former Strikeforce GP winner believes he can defeat ‘The Mauler’ in all areas. Check out what the champ told FightHype.com about his first title defense:
“There are reasons to be confident against Alexander and there are reasons to be worried about Alexander. He presents a lot of problems for any fighter, but in this match-up, I see a lot of paths to victory I believe that I have more opportunities and more chances to win this fight than he does. It’s not as simple as I just have to wrestle and take him down to win. I can win the standup fight. I could grind him up against the cage and beat him. I can take him down and beat him. There are a lot of ways for me to beat him, and for Alex, I think his ways are pretty limited,”
Gustafsson is predominantly a striker, with 10 wins by T/KO, so you’d imagine he’d want to keep the distance with rangy strikes against the man with a much lower center of gravity, but there are a few factors playing against the Swedish title hopeful; Cormier’s chin is ridiculous and has seen him survive 13 fights as a heavyweight, and along with his experiences against consistently bigger men such as Jon Jones and Bigfoot Silva, that makes him a very difficult fight for anybody. Throw in his grinding wrestling style, and you have the possible outcome of a tired Gus getting mullered in the mid-to-late rounds.
“You know what, man? I’ve seen the fight and I’ve seen the range and Jones does a good job of fighting long, just like Gustafsson does, and I closed the distance pretty good in that fight. I felt it. So it gives me a little bit of confidence,”
“I’m more than just a wrestler nowadays, but I like the fact that people underestimate all of the other aspects of my game because when we fight, it’s a big surprise to them. I’m more than just wrestling. P, any fighter in the world will tell you that there are easier ways to win fights. And the easiest way for me to win fights is to implement my game plan: in-fighting, taking guys down, making them grapple, making them carry me, and making them work so hard that their arms start to blow up and they start to get tired. That’s my game. I like fighting that way. I like a dirty, ugly fight. And I actually try to put that type of fight on the guys I compete against. But make no mistake about it, if I have to stand up and fight, I will stand up and fight and I think I have proven that in multiple fights. I did it in the Barnett fight, I did it in the Mir fight, and I did it in the Roy Nelson fight. I stood the whole time with him and I stood the whole time with Jones. “Big Foot” Silva, I stood the whole time. Were some of the fights easier? Yes. Jeff Monson, stood the whole time. There were times I have had to stand 15 minutes or 25 minutes at times and I’m okay with it. I like to fight.”
So expect some nasty tactics in Houston Texas this coming October 3rd from the UFC light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. The American Kickboxing Academy boss uses his fight against Jon Jones as a well of information for his upcoming UFC 192 title defense with Alexander Gustafsson, who faces arguably the best wrestler he has ever encountered, but one that plans on outstriking him.
This should be fun.