Daniel Cormier is a winner.
All he has done for the vast majority of his life is overcome obstacles. He has three gold medals and a 4th place finish at the 2004 Summer Olympics from his amateur wrestling career, 19 wins in his pro MMA career and a three UFC light heavyweight championship belts on his mantlepiece to prove it.
‘DC’ began his MMA career as a heavyweight, meaning more often than not his opponents had a great size advantage over him when it came to fight night. On every single occasion however, Cormier bested each monster he came across, going 13-0 in the process. During this run he beat the likes of UFC legend Frank Mir, knockout specialist Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson and the aptly named Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva just to name a few.
To add to his already impressive feats, in his UFC title reign alone DC has beaten two top light heavyweight contenders over three bouts, beating Swedish superstar Alexander Gustafsson in a gruelling five round war in between the two, separate, beatdowns he happily dished out to Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson. However, instead of fans acknowledging his incredible past achievements, on the whole, all anyone wants do when it comes to Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier is question his legitimacy as a champion and talk about that… one… loss.
The loss in question came on January 3, 2015. It was to bitter rival and pound-for-pound king Jon ‘Bones’ Jones. Over five hard rounds, Jones out-smarted, out-worked and ultimately out-classed DC, even managing to put the Olympian on his back for the first time in his career. It was the first time we seen anyone do to Cormier what Cormier had done to everyone he faced inside the cage so far. Jones was without doubt the better man on the night; however, it was assumed by virtually everyone in the MMA community that these two greats would square off at least one more time in their careers.
Fast forward just over two years and they are still yet to compete for a second time. It’s not for the want of trying though, as they have been scheduled to fight twice in that period. Most of you reading this will know exactly why the bouts haven’t yet materialised but for anyone who doesn’t – let’s just say Jon Jones was a bit of a naughty boy! Of course, the past is the past and everyone makes mistakes (some more than others, eh Jon?) but no matter what has happened in Jones’ somewhat disastrous personal life as of late, it should not affect Cormier’s legacy. Yet it does, oh how it does! Daniel Cormier is more often than not booed whilst making public appearances, is a continuous target for online abuse and the vast consensus among MMA fans is that the only reason he is a UFC champion at all, is because Jon Jones has not been eligible to prevent it from happening.
This may be, and probably is true, but regardless of the manner of which he gained the all important UFC gold – the fact is, he IS a champion, with or without the strap. The horrific things he has overcome in his personal life alone including his father’s murder when he was just eight years old and the tragic car accident in 2003 that claimed the life of his young daughter and girlfriend at-the-time, makes him a champion. It is certainly not his fault that the only man who has been able to compete with him in the cage has ruled himself out of competition due to the actions he chose to take in the past. ‘DC’ was given an opportunity and he ran with it, I challenge anyone reading this to say they wouldn’t do the same if they were in his shoes.
I am not writing this article to ‘convert’ you to a supporter of Daniel Cormier, so to speak. I’m not even writing this to ask you to stop booing the man. The main aim of this article is to implore some of the trolls to look behind his sometimes cocky nature and apparently boring fight-style (even though I think the ability to maul his competitors and break their spirit, which DC regularly does to his opponents, is fascinating in it’s own right) and although a (somewhat) wise man and WWE superstar Ric Flair once said ‘you gotta beat the man to be the man’, I feel like there can be exceptions, and if there in fact can be an exception or two, one of them spots is without doubt reserved for Louisiana’s own Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier.