Daniel Cormier knows his bread-and-butter his Olympic-level wrestling.
The former standout on the mats, though, isn’t afraid to stand-and-trade with anybody, including his UFC 187 opponent Anthony Johnson.
Cormier and Johnson will meet Saturday night for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title. “DC” recently told “UFC Tonight” that he is more than willing to engage in a 25-minute striking affair with “Rumble.”
“It’s not about his power against my wrestling. If I have to stand there against him for 25 minutes, I am confident I can get it done,” he said. “I won the Strikeforce (heavyweight) championship. I’ve fought for the UFC championship. He’s never experienced anything like this before. I believe in myself. I’m smarter knowing that if I don’t do it the right way, Anthony Johnson could just possibly, maybe be champion.”
Cormier (15-1) has claimed victories over the likes of former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett, UFC title contender Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, former champion Frank Mir and Roy Nelson, along with a submission win vs. Dan Henderson. His only loss came earlier this year to then-champ Jon Jones.
Despite UFC president Dana White and others being critical of the training ways American Kickboxing Academy uses before fights, Cormier still spent much of his camp sparring with UFC champion Cain Velasquez.
“It’s been an amazing difference,” he said. “I love Cain but I hate Cain because I’m trying to get out of the Octagon every time I spar with him because he pushes me so much. I told him and my trainer to not let me quit. They made me believe in myself and that I can accomplish what I want on Saturday.”
And while some take a loss to heart and it overcomes them, Cormier believes the defeat vs. Jones was the best thing for him from a mental aspect.
“I know I can be beat now. As you guys know, I always talked about my zero on my record. That’s not there anymore,” he said. “I understand that anything can happen in the Octagon if I’m not on my game. I’m more focused, with realization anything can happen in the Octagon.”