Whether or not UFC 241 turns out to be Daniel Cormier’s swan song, he was in a contemplative mood at the event’s media day.
Anaheim, CA — If this is Daniel Cormier’s last fight — and even he doesn’t seem sure — one thing is certain: he’s taking it all in. The older (as in, now 40), wiser Cormier was asked to give advice to up-and-coming fighters at the UFC 241 media day Thursday, ahead of his rematch with Stipe Miocic.
The heavyweight champ did just that. “First, find a great team. Find a team where you mesh well with everyone. Coaches, the athletes. Everyone is working hard toward a common goal. That’s one,” he began.
“Two, don’t rush. I started this thing when Luke [Rockhold] and Cain [Velasquez] were on their way up. And we still had Thompson, Fitch, Koscheck, Swick, all those guys and those guys were all at the top of the sport. And all I wanted was to be a champion,” he continued. “So I may have rushed through the journey at times. Take your time. Appreciate the journey. Slow down. Really slow down and take in every moment. Because at a point, you’re not going to have the opportunities to get better. The good and the bad, right? Like when you don’t know stuff, and you feel awkward. It’s okay, it’s all part of the journey, so slow down.’
And the third piece of advice. “Lastly, just be true to yourself. Before you make the money, before the fame, figure out who you are at your core, and stay true to that. Because a lot of times, you get into this thing, and people are such sweet people, and they make money, and they change, and the money allows you to be everything that you aspired to be,” he stated. “Try to figure out who that person is before all that, so you can stay true to it whenever all of it happens.”
Another suggestion was brought up as well: don’t fight with the UFC. “That’s bad,” he agreed. “And it’s easier to just get along. It’s not that hard to just get along with the UFC, I promise you.”
If this is Cormier’s last trip to the octagon, one wonders, what is D.C. most proud of? If you guessed winning two belts, you’d be wrong. Instead, it’s that “I’ve won a lot, and I’ve done everything the right way. I’ve tried to represent my family the way you’re supposed to represent your family,” he said.
“I know that my mother’s proud of me, because there’s no bad in what I’ve done. I know that when my children get old enough to Google their father, they will find no bad on me,” he added. “It will be done the right way, and the majority of the pictures they will see of their dad in fighting will be with his hand raised. And that’s enough for me.”
Heading into UFC 241, Cormier brought up opponent Stipe Miocic’s feelings a number of times. Miocic, of course, had his own take on that, but to Cormier, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. “He seems pissed off,” Cormier said of the man he’ll fight for the second time on Saturday, “but I mean, whatever. They always seem pissed off. I went to the staredowns, my wife said ‘what did you see?’ I said, ‘I see a guy that wants to punch me in the face.'”
“Mad, not mad. What was he going to do on Saturday? Punch me in the face,” Cormier observed. “So on Saturday, he’s going to punch me in the face, mad or not mad. So it doesn’t really matter what he’s feeling. We’re going to fight.”
And after that? If it’s not his final fight, then the bout everyone wants to see is Cormier against Jon Jones. The trilogy fight seems to be a possibility, and light heavyweight, not heavyweight, where Cormier currently reigns, appears to be the target. Getting back to the weight class, however, “it would take some time,” said D.C. “I would have to readjust a lot of things to get back to 205. It would take me a while, probably not til the end of the year or something. Six months or so.”
“I can cut some weight. It sucks, but I’m really good at cutting weight.”
Watch the full UFC 241 media day press scrum with Daniel Cormier, where he also tackled the towel-gate incident, above!