Daniel Cormier is headed to the UFC Hall of Fame.
During Saturday’s UFC 274 broadcast, the promotion announced former two-division champ Cormier’s addition to the Modern Wing of its Hall of Fame. Cormier, who was working UFC 274 as an analyst, received a standing ovation from fans in attendance, and was noticeably emotional hugging it out with broadcast partner Joe Rogan and ring announcer Bruce Buffer.
In a press release distributed in conjunction with the announcement, UFC President Dana White touted Cormier’s impact on the sport of MMA.
“Daniel Cormier is one of the most badass competitors of all time,” said White. “DC faced the greatest athletes in the world on every level of wrestling and MMA. He is also the ultimate professional. As an active fighter, he always took time for the media, which led him to become one of the best TV analysts in all of sports. DC is one of the greatest ambassadors UFC has ever had, and it’s going to be an honor to induct him into the UFC Hall of Fame this summer.”
Cormier (22-3, 1NC), a U.S. Olympic Team member known for his high-level wrestling, first hit the radar in Strikeforce, joining that promotion’s light heavyweight grand prix as an alternate in 2011. At the time an undefeated prospect and teammate of Cain Velasquez at American Kickboxing Academy, Cormier defeated journeyman Jeff Monson in a reserve bout — then landed in the tournament semifinal against Bigfoot Silva when Alistair Overeem pulled out of the grand prix.
After knocking out Silva, Cormier found himself facing former UFC champion Josh Barnett in the final, a far more experienced opponent, but one who could not handle Cormier’s wrestling. Cormier would win the grand prix and Strikeforce heavyweight tournament — just as the promotion was gobbled up by the UFC.
With good friend Velasquez holding gold in his new home, Cormier dropped down to light heavyweight after a few early wins over Frank Mir and Roy Nelson. At 205 pounds, he would spark a fierce rivalry with Jon Jones only to come up short in his first shot at UFC gold in 2015. But when Jones was stripped of the title, it was Cormier swooping in and winning the vacant light heavyweight championship against Anthony Johnson that same year.
Cormier would defend the title twice, then rematch with Jones at UFC 214 — after a planned UFC 200 match-up with scuttled by Jones failing a drug test. A loss to Jones on the rescheduled date was soon overturned, with Jones failing yet another drug test — Cormier retained the title as a result.
Defending the belt one more time against Volkan Oezdemir in 2018, Cormier would then move to heavyweight and challenge Stipe Miocic for the title there. He’d dethrone Miocic, becoming one of four fighters in UFC history to hold two championships simultaneously, alongside Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and Henry Cejudo.
Eventually relinquishing the light heavyweight title, Cormier would defend the heavyweight belt against Derrick Lewis, before closing out his career by completing a trilogy with Miocic.
The 2022 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on June 30 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the T-Mobile Arena.