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Daniel Cormier talks training with Cain Velasquez, shaky UFC debut, and wanting to be tested.

Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada – USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Cormier has been training alongside the reigning heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez since he started his MMA career. The Olympic wrestler has found himself in a precarious position, being a heavyweight himself, and he’s not willing to face his training partner for the title. The next best thing is Jon Jones, who has just about cleared out the 205-pound category. “DC” continues to ponder the move to light-heavyweight to face Jones.

Cormier is one of the best heavyweight fighters out there, but not many are familiar with the former Olympian. UFC fans got a good preview of what he can do inside the Octagon against Frank Mir at UFC on FOX 7 – where not a lot of significant damage was done, but it was still a dominant win for DC nevertheless.

You might have heard of the “UFC jitters” term? Sportsnet Canada caught up with Cormier and asked him about his UFC debut.

“Once I started wrestling, I could always kinda go on cruise control. I’ve been doing it so long, whereas fighting, I’ve only been fighting for four years. So when I walked out there was a ton of adrenaline. I was warming up way more than I should have been. My couches couldn’t stop me. I was just fired up. I got fired up from the weigh ins, the people all yelling my name. We talk about home field advantage. It can be a positive, but it can also kind of be a negative. Because then you carry the weight of all those fans, and bay area fans are pretty passionate about their teams and their athletes.”

Jitters from making your debut in the UFC can put a damper on any performance. But go and ask Anderson Silva about acting nervously in the Octagon. Silva destroyed Chris Leben in less than one minute in his first appearance inside the UFC’s cage. To be fair, “The Spider” had fought a lot more than twelve times in his career and wasn’t even as hyped as Cormier is now.

DC goes into detail about  having one of the best fighters in the world to train with.

“Our training sessions are crazy. If we’re sparring, and it’s mostly stand up stuff, then we don’t get as tired. It’s when we start wrestling because wrestling is so competitive. Cain is a good wrestler. And we’ve wrestled so much now that the take downs I got on him before, they don’t work anymore. Because he knows it, he sees it. His cardio is amazing. It’s natural. When I was in training camp, peaking, and he was just starting his, he was able to go three rounds with me, but I can’t do that. I go two rounds and I’m like, ‘Alright, that’s enough. I’m done. I’m exhausted’. We’re lucky. Competitive rounds, nobody else can really give them to us as we give each other. I’ll have three sparring partners if Cain is not there. He’ll have four if I’m not there.”

If you wanted to know who got the better of who between Cain and Cormier, you just got your answer. Both training partners have  spoken against fighting each other several times.

He shares more thoughts on what’s next and someday facing Jones at 205 lbs.

“I asked them for big fights. I don’t want to fight someone that’s in the higher levels of the division. Granted, that does work as a double-edged sword. Because if I win, I’m knocking off contenders. I just wanna be pushed. I’m still so new to this, I need to be in there with guys that actually push me. I’ve been through my career and I’m not sure if I’ve lost a round yet in twelve fights. Josh Barnett pushed me to the limits. I grew in that fight. I matured in that fight with Josh. I haven’t had that with anyone else, even the Frank Mir fight, there was never any problems – the kicks in the third round – but two or three kicks in a fight, that’s not much of anything. I wanna be pushed. I want to be tested. I couldn’t imagine standing in that cage, looking across at Jon Jones not having been tested. You know he’s going to test you and put you in situations you have never been in. He is a great fighter. Regardless of what anyone may think of him. He’s one of the top three fighters in the world, hand’s down, and I think he’s probably one or two. He loves being the champion, he showed that in the Vitor fight.”

Cormier has had so many opponents outmatched, strength-wise, they can’t even  afford to offer enough resistance to give DC a good go. Apart from his bout with Barnett, he hasn’t really had an outstanding obstacle to overcome.

Who does the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) trained fighter face next? He’s called for a big showdown with Roy Nelson and most recently called out the winner of this Saturday’s big heavyweight fight between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum in Brazil for UFC on Fuel TV 10.

 

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