A lot people believed that Daniel Cormier would remain the light-heavyweight champion after he fought Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192, but chances are, they didn’t expect “DC” to win in the manner that he did.
Due to the size, reach and striking abilities of Gustafsson, the pre-fight consensus was that Cormier would need to put his clinch and wrestling game into action, in order to win. Early on, Cormier took Gustafsson to the mat, but the majority of the fight was spent on the feet. Cormier managed to out strike Gustafsson, and won a razor thin, split decision.
Cormier appeared on the latest “UFC Tonight“, and while discussing what went down on Saturday, the decorated wrestler said this (quote via FOX Sports 1 press release):
“It was a part of the plan to wrestle him and my coaches were going crazy for me to get a takedown. But after a while you settle into a fight. I like to fight. Once I saw blood, I had a fight. I said I wanted to win a standup fight against him and people laughed at me. I wanted to prove that I could do it.”
UFC commentator Kenny Florian also weighed in on Cormier’s approach, and offered this:
“I was surprised he took the harder path to victory. Intuitively he felt he could strike with Gustafsson. I don’t think he needed to do that. He should have hit more takedowns. His corner was asking for them. I don’t know what it was – if he got too emotional or just wanted to prove a point.”
It certainly was a surprise, and Cormier definitely showcased a ton of heart and toughness in the bout. Some might point to the fact that Gustafsson defended four of Cormier’s five takedown attempts, as to why the fight was largely a striking affair. But that shouldn’t diminish what Cormier demonstrated in the bloody battle.
UFC 192 went down at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.