More than a few eyebrows were raised when Daniel Cormier came in heavier than Stipe Miocic for their UFC 226 bout last weekend, but “DC” went on to have his greatest performance to date. Why is that?
Although Cormier competed at heavyweight before, since he’s the UFC’s light-heavyweight champ, and hadn’t fought at heavyweight since 2013, the expectation was he’d be the smaller man for UFC 226. But, at the weigh-ins the day before, Cormier tipped the scales at 246, while the now former champ was 242.5.
The weight prompted some concerns as to how Cormier would perform, but, the decorated wrestler went out there and finished Miocic in the opening round. Recently Cormier appeared on “The MMA Hour”, and he was asked to reflect on how he felt fighting at heavyweight once more. Here’s some of what he had to say (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I felt like I was faster,” Cormier said, “because at 205, I think my speed, it doesn’t jump out at you as much because all of these guys that I fight are pretty fast. So I think I felt faster, I think I felt faster at heavyweight, and then just not having to do that weight cut, it makes such a big deal, man. That weight cut can really, really — it can really brutalize you.
“[Without the weight cut] I was so excited, man,” Cormier added. “I was in the back trying to contain myself. Like, how do I stay the course and not put myself in the fight too early, because without having to worry about the weight management, now I have all this time to think about the fight, and I do a lot of visualization and stuff. So it’s like, when I visualize, I’m like, ‘Wow, I could go and just fight right now. I don’t have to cut any weight. How do I monitor myself and manage my energy in regards to the fight?’ I can’t get too excited, so I was really trying to peel myself back a lot. I was trying to peel myself back a lot when it came to thinking about the fight.”
This is interesting to hear but it makes a lot of sense. At 205, Cormier is dealing with more agile fighters, like say, a Jon Jones. Further, as Cormier noted, he doesn’t have to cut weight to compete at heavyweight, and we’ve seen in his last few fights at 205, how tough making that weight has been.
For these reasons, you really have to wonder, however, if we’ve seen the last of Cormier competing at light-heavyweight. Does he really want to make that cut again? Before he goes on to defend the heavyweight crown against Brock Lesnar in early 2019?