Daniel Cormier will fight for the final time as a heavyweight at UFC 166 when he faces Roy Nelson in the co-main event in Houston on Saturday. Following the fight, the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion will drop down to the light heavyweight division.
Before signing with the UFC, Cormier expressed his desire to transition to the 205-pound weight class and challenge champion Jon Jones for the title. Despite his intention of leaving the heavyweight division, the former Olympic wrestler isn’t looking too far ahead, or past Nelson.
“As a professional athlete, you can’t look past anyone,” Cormier told MMAWeekly.com. “Roy Nelson could put me out with one punch. I’m fully aware of that. Roy Nelson could submit me. Roy Nelson could put me in a crucifix as he did everyone else on The Ultimate Fighter. I’ve been watching him since then.”
The undefeated Cormier has stated that he wants an immediate title shot when he drops down to light heavyweight, but has backed off those comments recently. Immediate title shot or not, all of his plans in the light heavyweight division go up in smoke if he loses to Nelson, and Cormier expects a tough fight.
“I think it’s a great match-up. He presents a lot of problems for me because he’s my size. He’s not tall, so he’s going to be a little harder to take down,” said the 34-year-old athlete. “He’s got very good jiu-jitsu which will balance out my wrestling. And not only does he do that well, he gets up very well, so I will have to be in better shape because if I’m going to take him down I’m going to have do it over and over again, and he’s durable.
“He presents a lot of problems. It’s going to be a tough fight for me,” added Cormier.