Phoenix, AZ – The UFC Hall of Fame is an honor bestowed upon the greatest mixed martial artists to ever grace the octagon. On Saturday night at UFC 274 it was announced that former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel “DC” Cormier will be inducted in the class of 2022.
It caught Cormier by complete surprise. Earlier this year his good friend and teammate former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was inducted into the modern wing. Cormier pointed out that they normally don’t do induct two fighters into the modern wing in the same year.
“So I thought it was going to be Khabib, and then I saw my back on a promo I did years ago and I kind of threw my headset. Rogan like looked like ‘What just happened?’. Then he looked up and saw what was going on and he’s like, ‘Oh my God, congratulations!’. I don’t know how they kept this from me,” Cormier said.
The broadcast team made sure to keep it secret even going as far as having Cormier talk about Nurmagomedov being inducted before the show began.
“No one told me anything. They let me talk about Khabib going into the Hall Of Fame before the show. You know Khabib and I compete in everything. And I was like, ‘Well you’re in the Hall Of Fame and I’m not so congratulations champ. Little did I know a few hours later I was going to be getting the invitation,” said Cormier.
The career Cormier put together from his days in Strikeforce where stepping into the heavyweight grand prix on short notice turned into becoming the heavyweight champion. Then going into the UFC where he moved down to light heavyweight in order to avoid competing against his very good friend and teammate Cain Velasquez it has been a long road of sacrifices, and accomplishments for Cormier.
“I always said things like ‘Heroes and champions they fade but your legacy stays forever’. And this is a part of my legacy. Even when my days are gone…my kids and my kids’ kids can always take their kids to Vegas and see their dad in the Hall Of Fame. To be remembered is a truly, truly special thing. I think with this it’s like the icing on the cake of a lifetime of things that I’ve been able to accomplish,” Cormier said.
“It’s very special.”
Now that he has to think about a speech and what he’s going to say it’s time for Cormier to reflect and think about what he wants to be remembered for.
“I fought hard. I was never the biggest. I was always the smallest and I made do with what I had. I wrestled my ass off. I fought with all the tools that I was blessed with. Cardio, and just hard work. There was never anything given. I never cheated, I mean obviously outside of the whole thing where people think I touched that towel. People still believe that, but it’s so stupid. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you I didn’t touch the towel,” Cormier laughed.
“There are no drugs tied to my legacy. There was no questionable things that I did outside of people unjustly accusing me of touching the towel. It was there. Who doesn’t touch the towel when it’s there,” Cormier said with a smile.
Cormier touched on the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, CA where coach Javier Mendez continues to bring up future champions and a place where he brought in guys like Cormier, Nurmagomedov, and Velasquez who were instrumental training partners for each other.
Cormier mentioned Velasquez by name.
“Cain Velasquez. Who is now faced with the worst possible situation. He carried me to heights I never thought, and in all my biggest moments he was right next to me. Now as he is on his journey in this fight that he’s in I try to support him as best as I can. So every time you see him go to court or something I will be there. Because he was always there for me,” Cormier said.
With so many accomplishments in a long career one has to wonder what Cormier will think of as his biggest achievement.
“It’s easy to say becoming a double champion, right? Because that is going to be my crowning achievement. Just going through the fight and taking and rolling with the punches. From going down to 205 and having Rashad Evans tee’d up, a former champion that truly made an impact, it ends up being Patrick Cummins. A guy that was essentially called a Starbucks barista. Two days, Jon Jones fails a drug test, being able to fight Anderson Silva. So just rolling with the punches and really just dealing with what I had in front of me. Really being able to adjust. I think in this career, if you can adjust, you can accomplish some truly great things,” Cormier said.
“But yeah, after all that, becoming the double champion was pretty f*cking cool too!”
Watch the full UFC 274 press conference appearance by Daniel Cormier above. More coverage from the event can be found below.