Daniel Cormier has spent much of his life working towards becoming a world class wrestler, and reached the highest levels of the sport by competing in the Olympics. While that is without question one of the light-heavyweight’s greatest accomplishments to date, where does his upcoming scrap with champion Jon Jones rank?

Cormier appeared on the latest edition of “UFC Tonight“, and when asked to compare his UFC 182 bout with his Olympic experiences, the undefeated fighter stated (quote via FOX Sports 1 press release):

“For a long time I thought the Olympics was it, I represented America and nothing would match that. But as I get closer to this fight, this feels bigger. So many people are watching. And the ability to make money is life changing. It feels like this is bigger.”

While reaching the Olympics is extremely hard to do, especially in a sport like wrestling, there’s no doubt that Cormier’s profile will reach a whole other level, if he defeats Jones on January 3rd. Especially when you consider the financial implications if he does so, which Cormier noted.

Cormier finished 4th at the 2004 Olympics, and although he made the team in 2008, he was unable to compete due to kidney issues. The 35 year-old also offered this interesting take on his wrestling career and how it forged a path to MMA.

“I wouldn’t be here if I won gold. I look back at how things are meant to be. I lost because I wasn’t supposed to be the champion. Those lessons were so I could learn. It all prepared me for January 3. I’m supposed to be the UFC champion. That’s why I didn’t win the Olympics.”

Of course, it’s because of Cormier’s renowned, wrestling game that so many people believe he will be the toughest test yet for Jones ( who’s not too shabby at wrestling himself). Not only that, but Cormier’s put together an impressive striking pedigree, which combined with his strength and athleticism, makes him one nasty, nasty opponent.

So, it will be interesting to see how Cormier approaches Jones, and how quickly he looks to put the champion on his back. If “DC” can do that repeatedly, and or keep Jones there, it could be a rough night for “Bones.”

UFC 182 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena and will also feature Donald Cerrone taking on Myles Jury and Hector Lombard throwing down with Josh Burkman.