38-Year-Old UFC Light Heavyweight 19-2-0
September 13, 2017 Daniel Cormier News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Cormier was reinstated as the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion on Wednesday, Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com reports.
In the same day that Cormier's title loss to Jon Jones was ruled a "no contest" after Jones' 'B' sample came back positive for the banned substance Turinabol, the UFC will follow suite with the California State Athletic Commission's ruling and reinstate DC as champion. Cormier has had a marvelous run through the UFC's 205-pound division since coming down from heavyweight, and has never lost to anyone other than Jones. This changes the landscape of the division a bit, as Cormier has already defended his belt against the majority of top contenders. At 38 years old, DC should have a few more title defenses in him, but now the ball is in the court of UFC matchmakers.
Daniel Cormier: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisCormier was stopped by a vicious Jones head kick in the third round of their championship fight, but it was later discovered that Jones tested positive for the banned substance Turinabol in an in-competition drug test. When Jones' 'B' sample came back positive, the state of California was quick to overturn the victory, ruling the fight a no contest. The ruling will improve DC's record to 19-1-0 (1 NC), but the UFC has yet to comment on whether they will reinstate him as the light heavyweight champion -- though this seems like a logical next step. The only blemishes on Cormier's career record have been losses to Jon Jones, but with Jones' legacy now in question, Cormier must now be considered one of the division's all-time greats.
Fantasy AnalysisWhat a roller coaster ride for DC. He has already beaten the best the light heavyweight division has to offer, with Jones being the lone exception. He was given his second opportunity to defeat Jones on July 29 in a title unification bout, and was even winning that fight, but allowed Jones to land a devastating head kick in the third round that ultimately started a sequence that cost him his consciousness. There's now a long adjudication process ahead, but should the California State Athletic Commission and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency confirm Jones' positive sample, chances are the result of that fight would be overturned to a no-contest. Once that happens, the next step for the UFC would be to strip Jones of his belt and return it to Cormier, who held it for the entirety of Jones' last multi-year absence. With Jones potentially out of the picture for up to another four years, it's a realistic possibility the 38-year-old Cormier could remain champion until he chooses to hang up the gloves.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier was devastated by his TKO loss to Jon Jones at UFC 214, but it sounds as if walking away from the sport is not on the 38-year-old's mind. DC admitted to "missing time" following the defeat that sent him to the hospital, and likely needs at least a few months of recovery time. Once ready to return, DC said that there are opportunities in both the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions, though he does believe he will eventually get another chance at Jones. It's highly unlikely that matchup would occur in 2018 even, as Cormier would need to string together multiple victories before that even becomes an option. Regardless of that potential matchup and where he goes from here, DC will still go down in history as one of the greatest light heavyweights of all time. His only two career MMA loses have came against Jones.
Fantasy AnalysisIt's hard not to feel for DC. He seemed crushed and broken in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. DC was in good shape before one head kick turned the tide of the fight. Cormier thought that Jones was going low with the kick and he went high and that was all she wrote. Referee Big John McCarthy gave DC plenty of time to recover, but it simply wasn't happening. The score was either 20-18 DC or 19-19 heading into Round 3 and Cormier looked far more calm and composed than the first fight between the two men. He did a much better job of pushing the pace of the action and he was able to negate Jones' reach advantage to some extent. Ultimately, it wasn't enough. Being unable to get by Jones is going to define DC's legacy, but it shouldn't. There is no shame in losing to one of the greatest fighters of all time. Hopefully DC heads home, spends some time with his family and comes back better than ever.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier and Jones, two long-time rivals of each other, will finally meet after last year's fight at UFC 200 was scratched once Jones was dropped from the competition due to a drug policy violation. Cormier should particularly be ready for the challenge as he's coming off his second title defense since 2015 after submitting Anthony "Rumble" Johnson at UFC 210 back in April.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier's medical suspension comes in the aftermath of UFC 210 where he took down top-ranked contender Anthony Johnson via rear-naked choke in the second round. He joins Chris Weidman, Patrick Cote, Mike De La Torre and Josh Emmett in a group of five fighters to face the same mandatory absence. Cormier was unlikely to fight withing 45 days anyway, but if he does choose to compete on one of the promotion's July cards, this short layoff won't get in his way.
Fantasy AnalysisWith Rumble shockingly willing to grapple with him, DC used his muscle and positioning to win this fight. He did a great job of keeping Johnson pinned up against the cage, and although he was taken down twice, DC easily hopped right back up to his feet. Considering Rumble's sudden retirement following the fight, it makes you wonder if his head was in it. Either way, that's not DC's fault. He did what he had to do to win. DC cut a vintage heel promo following the bout. He launched verbal attacks on both former champion Jon Jones and Jimi Manuwa, both of whom were cageside. Jones, of course, still isn't eligible to fight following all of the personal and legal issues he has been through. For what it's worth, DC would likely be a massive favorite over Manuwa and a fairly healthy underdog to Jones.
Fantasy AnalysisDC won the first fight between the two a little less than two years ago, but he still finds himself as the underdog. Cormier has defeated Alexander Gustafsson and Anderson Silva since the last time the two fought, but this will undoubtedly be his toughest title defense to date. Cormier is fully aware of Rumble's insane power and it's vital that he does everything in his power to make sure he doesn't stand in front of Johnson for long stretches at a time. DC's best chance of winning on Saturday is to lean on his wrestling game.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier will be 38 when he steps into the octagon in April, but should be recovered from early-December groin surgery at that time. "DC" typically uses his world-class wrestling ability to get opponents to the ground before looking for the finish via ground-and-pound or submission. That's exactly what happened the last time he faced Johnson, as he forced the heavy hitter to exert energy defending his takedowns before eventually slipping in a decisive rear-naked choke in the third round. Cormier stated on UFC Tonight on Wednesday that he wasn't going to wrestle this time around, and instead plans to stand up and box. Although this may be what the fans want to see, it is far from the optimal strategy for winning. Johnson has vicious knockout power, and the best strategic way to counter that would be to once again take the fight to the ground and force Rumble to expend energy -- he's never once been to the championship rounds before. Whether Cormier is just saying that to promote the fight, or if he actually plans to stand and trade, remains to be seen.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier had to withdraw from his main event fight with Anthony Johnson on Dec. 10 because of the injury, but this timeline is expected to be shorter than previously thought. He could be back training as soon as mid-January, with a bout coming anytime after that.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was confirmed by MMA Fighting that Cormier will undergo surgery to repair a groin tear. This injury will prevent him from fighting Anthony Johnson on Dec. 10. He hopes to be back in action in as little as four months.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier recently had to withdraw from his Dec. 10 fight against Anthony Johnson, and the exact reason why was revealed Monday. He hasn't officially decided on surgery, though that would likely result in his quickest return to the Octagon (roughly eight weeks). According to Cormier, his preference is to not go under the knife, though he did acknowledge that a rest-only approach would take approximately five months. Another option is to avoid surgery and undergo platelet-rich plasma treatment, though a return timetable there would be dependent on how the 37-year-old's body responds. In any case, Cormier won't be available to defend his light heavyweight strap until early-to-mid 2017.
Fantasy AnalysisFollowing the announcement, ESPN's Brett Okamoto confirmed the report, adding that DC is slated to undergo minor surgery. Although Cormier is not expected to be facing an extended absence, he won't be ready for his scheduled bout 15 days from Friday. It's currently unclear if the UFC is looking to find a short-notice replacement for the dangerous Johnson, who has has knocked out the No. 2-5 contenders in the weight class. It's also possible they push this fight back to a later date, as it's truly the only bout to make in the light heavyweight division -- at least until Jon Jones (suspension) returns. UFC fans will simply have to wait a little longer for the long-anticipated rematch, with the winner likely to meet Jones in the Octagon upon his return.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Anderson Silva at UFC 200 in July and is now scheduled for a rematch with fellow light heavyweight Anthony Johnson. Cormier won the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship belt against Johnson when they last fought in May of 2015 and will now defend that title when the two MMA stars enter the octagon this December.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier lost half his paycheck and handily beat the best fighter in history on 48 hours notice, and he was still mercifully booed by the crowd at the new T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. Knowing full well that standing and trading with Silva was a potential recipe for disaster, DC took Silva to the mat with no issues to cruise to the victory. Cormier essentially admitted in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan that he played it safe in order to win. At least DC got to compete on the biggest stage in MMA history, but it was one of the more awkward fights in recent memory. Jon Jones appears to be looking at a lengthy suspension after this latest fiasco, so it's hard to determine at this point who Cormier's next challenger will be. DC has defeated two of the best options, Rumble Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson, in the last 13 months.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier and Silva are now scheduled to face off in a three-round bout, fought at light heavyweight (205 pounds), in a shocking development that will ultimately salvage the UFC 200 card. DC will hold a substantial size advantage over Silva, but will have to be careful of the speed and unpredictability of one of the winningest fighters in UFC history. It's a spectacular way to finish this saga for Cormier, who had a lot to lose after the removal of Jon Jones due to a potential anti-doping violation.
Fantasy AnalysisIt's incredibly short notice and seemingly improbable, but Dana White and UFC brass will continue searching for a matchup for Cormier. During a radio interview Thursday afternoon, White mentioned that one potential candidate, Michael Bisping, is currently in no shape to fight Cormier. Other fighters that have volunteered for the bout include Gegard Mousasi and Ilir Latifi, but a lot needs to fall properly into place, including an agreement from Cormier, for any matchup to be made.
Fantasy AnalysisThe UFC is currently in search of a last-minute replacement for Cormier, but it's unlikely they will be able to make a match for the interim light heavyweight champion on such short notice (DC would have to agree to the fight as well). The news is purely devastating for Cormier, who had been awaiting an opportunity to avenge his Jan. 2015 loss to Jones, and would have gotten a cut of the pay-per-view event. If Cormier is unable to get matched up up with a new opponent before Saturday, the next step remains unclear, and may hinge on the final ruling of Jones' suspension. DC has already faced and defeated several of the remaining top contenders in the division, including Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier had to withdraw from the originally-planned rematch against Jones that had been scheduled for last Saturday at UFC 197, but the MRI he underwent Monday must have returned favorable results, as he'll now return to the octagon a bit earlier than expected (his originally timetable was for a August/September return). Cormier was defeated by Jones via unanimous decision the last time the two faced off all the way back on Jan. 3 of 2015. Since then, DC has defeated Anthony Johnson for the light heavyweight title that was stripped from Jones, and successfully defended it in a close, split-decision victory over Alexander Gustafsson. The 37-year-old Cormier has since settled into a role as a UFC commentator, but will no doubt be motivated to avenge his only professional loss on the UFC's biggest stage. Despite the fact that he's the current champion, DC will likely enter the fight as the underdog.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier suffered a lower leg injury while training just over a week ago, which forced him out of his scheduled title fight -- a rematch against former champion Jon "Bones" Jones. Although the injury forced a withdrawal, Cormier is not expected to need surgery on the leg. With Cormier out of the picture, Jones will instead fight Ovince Saint Preux for the interim championship. Once Cormier is ready in the fall, he will likely take on the winner of that fight for the world light heavyweight championship.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier only has one professional loss to his name -- a unanimous-decision defeat against Jones in January of 2015. Since then, DC has been active, beating Anthony Johnson for the interim title and successfully defending it in a five-round brawl that resulted in a split-decision victory over Alexander Gustafsson. Although he's spent the last few months in the broadcast booth, Cormier will surely have himself prepared for what will be the biggest fight of his life to date. The skilled wrestler will look to take advantage of the fact that Jones hasn't seen the Octagon for over a calendar year.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier has successfully earned and defended the light heavyweight title since losing to Jon Jones in January of 2015, and many believe a rematch with Jones following his reinstatement would be the next challenge for DC. This will be put on hold, at least temporarily, allowing Cormier to take the holidays off and spend time with his family. It's unclear if the UFC plans to schedule Jones for a tune-up fight in the meantime, or if the former champion is even open to this possibility.
Fantasy AnalysisThe article also mentions that Cormier is undecided about defending his UFC light heavyweight title against Jon Jones at a planned event at Madison Square Garden in April. DC feels that giving Jones a fight in his home state sends the wrong message. Ultimately, it's hard to believe that Cormier would have any say in the matter. DC will turn 37-years old in March. It's entirely possible that this new eight-fight deal will be his last contract with the UFC.
Fantasy AnalysisRotoWire scored the bout 49-46 for Cormier. DC certainly appeared to connect more, but it was Gustafsson who landed the biggest shot of the fight, a huge knee late in the third round that had Cormier reeling. It was a minor miracle that DC recovered from the shot as quickly as he did. Cormier landed two takedowns early in the first round, but oddly enough, he didn't shoot for another one the rest of the fight. DC did his best work with uppercuts from the clinch, repeatedly peppering the big Swede with them throughout the fight. It was a heck of a fight. Not that it is much of a concern anymore, but it should also be noted that DC's cardio looked to be on point once again. Considering the current state of the light heavyweight division, it appears that Cormier's next challenge will either come from a returning Jon Jones (although he is yet to be officially reinstated by the UFC) or from Ryan Bader, who easily handled Rashad Evans earlier Saturday night.
Fantasy AnalysisIt will be DC's first title defense. He won the vacant title in May after submitting Anthony Johnson. Cormier's game plan will almost certainly be to attempt to use his elite wrestling ability to plant Gustafsson on his back. Cormier rightly deserves to be favored, but Gustafsson is no pushover. DC is in for a tough test on Saturday.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier, who is recovering from a knee issue, was always targeting UFC 192 for a return. Since the fight has been made official, it's quite clear that his recovery is on schedule. Cormier will have to find a way to get inside against the much taller Gustafsson. It's a solid fight.
Fantasy AnalysisThis isn't a new problem. Cormier's ACL issue was made public before he defeated Anthony Johnson for the vacated UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 187 last month. He hopes to return to training in four to six weeks. Assuming he can stick relatively close to that timeline, he should have plenty of time to get ready for a fight in October. His challenger is expected to be Sweden's Alexander Gustafsson.
Fantasy AnalysisDC took full advantage of his second opportunity. Cormier was able to withstand some monster shots (the significant strike total was 23-4 in favor of Rumble) from Johnson before dragging him to the ground in each round and then finally sinking in the choke in round 3. Despite Johnson being the clearly bigger fighter, DC was able easily control the fight on the ground. It was quite a bounce back effort for a guy who was dominated by former champion Jon Jones in early January. Cormier grabbed the mic after the bout and called Jones out. It's anyone's guess when Jones will actually be reinstated (most experts think it will be sometime next summer), so it's entirely possible that Cormier will have to face someone else in his first title defense. Considering Alexander Gustafsson is coming off a loss to Johnson, it would seem like Ryan Bader is currently the leader in the clubhouse. That was the fight that was supposed to take place in June before Cormier replaced Jones in this bout. DC would be a huge favor if that is indeed the matchup.
Fantasy AnalysisObviously it's a shame that this entire thing happened, but if anyone comes out a winner in this, it's Cormier. DC fought Jones at UFC 182 back on January 3 and he lost a unanimous decision. He was at least two and possibly three fights away from getting another title shot. Now with Jones suspended, he gets his second title shot in less than five months. Cormier definitely has the ability to take advantage of the opportunity presented to him, but if he comes up short once again, he's looking at a serious uphill battle to get a third title shot anytime in the near future. DC was scheduled to face Ryan Bader in New Orleans on June 6th. The UFC has not yet announced who will replace Cormier in that fight.