Press Release courtesy of Strikeforce
Two-time United States Olympic wrestling team member and NCAA Division I national championship runner-up Daniel Cormier will make his mixed martial arts debut at the Strikeforce: Challengers event at the SpiritBank Event Center in Tulsa, Okla., on Sept. 25.
Cormier will face an opponent that has yet to be determined on the live Showtime televised portion of the first-ever Strikeforce card in the state of Oklahoma.
“I think it’s an honor to be fighting for one of the top organizations in the world,” said Cormier, who celebrated his 30th birthday on March 20.
Since graduating from Oklahoma State University (OSU) with a degree in sociology in 2001, Cormier has continued to follow his passion for playing human chess on the mat, earning a place on the 2004 and 2008 United States Olympic wrestling teams.
“Making the first Olympic team was like a culmination of everything I had worked for,” said Cormier, who took fourth place in The Olympic Games held in Athens, Greece, in 2004, but was unable to compete in the 2008 games due to injury. “I’m a guy who really wants to make his mother proud and this made her so proud. I could see the joy and pride in her.”
His storied run as an amateur wrestler began in high school where Cormier was a three-time state champion in his native Louisiana, compiling a remarkable 101-9 record over four years of competition.
Before joining OSU’s powerhouse squad that has won a remarkable 34 national wrestling championships since its first season in 1914, Cormier stopped off at Colby Community College where he captured the junior college national championship two years in a row. His unyielding commitment to the sport stems from the fortitude it has added to his character, according to Cormier.
“Wrestling’s a sport that teaches you how to be strong physically and mentally,” he explained. “It really molds you and makes you take responsibility for your actions. If you don’t train hard, it’s going to be you out there getting embarrassed.”
Cormier recently relocated to San Jose, Calif., in order to train at the famed American Kickboxing Academy, also home to Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh “The Punk” Thomson and MMA superstars Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch, among others.
Of his decision to step into the cage, Cormier said, “I haven’t done anything since the Olympics and that competitive fire in me started to build and build last year. When I started feeling that, I started pursuing all avenues.”
In the main event on Sept. 25, American military hero Tim Kennedy (10-2) of Fayetteville, N.C., will face unbeaten Zak Cummings (10-0) of Springfield, Missouri in a middleweight contest.