Daniel Cormier is all about legacy.
From the day he entered the sport of mixed martial arts after becoming a two-time Olympian, Cormier wanted to make his mark on the sport and do what had never been done before.
Cormier lived up to his promise with a fast rise up the ranks, while putting together an immaculate 13-0 record as a heavyweight, including a run through the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix that included wins over former UFC champion Josh Barnett and former title contender Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
Since arriving in the UFC, Cormier has toppled every obstacle put in front of him minus a pair of fights against longtime rival Jon Jones.
In recent months, Cormier has reconciled his place in history in comparison to Jones, who is currently sitting out on suspension after testing positive for steroids following their last fight in July 2017. With Jones staring at a possible four-year absence from the sport due to the UFC anti-doping policy infraction, Cormier has forced himself to put any hope of a rematch behind him for the time being.
Add to that, Cormier has put an expiration date on his own career, as he plans to retire by the time he is 40 and that deadline is fast approaching in March 2019. So while Cormier may never get to avenge his previous loss to Jones, the only thing he can do is move forward with his career and carve out a niche all his own.
That’s exactly what Cormier plans to do on July 7 when he faces Stipe Miocic, who is the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. Cormier has the chance to become only the second ever simultaneous two-division champion in the UFC, not to mention the first ever to do it at light heavyweight and heavyweight.
“It’s never been done before,” Cormier told MMAWeekly.com. “The crazy thing when Jones beat me, he asked to fight Brock Lesnar and he also said, ‘Hey, you guys can’t force me up to heavyweight, it’s one thing to fight a heavyweight, a guy that’s big. It’s another thing to go up and fight a guy that’s big, but also really, really good.’ So he didn’t seem too stoked on it.
“I think it just shows the difference in mentality. Instead of saying I don’t know about it, he’s too big, he’s too good. I just say bring them on. Let’s do it.”
Jones waffled on a potential move to heavyweight for years and while there was talk about him getting matched up with Miocic last year, that fell by the wayside when he was suspended.
Cormier knows his career will always be tied to Jones in some form or fashion. He’s learned to live with that.
The only way he can make sure there’s a chapter set aside for him in the UFC history books is to take an opportunity like this one, where Cormier can truly do what’s never been done before and may never be done again.
“This gives me exactly what I’ve been pining for. I get this done, everything I’ve always wanted, wished for, and hoped for, is not only a reality, but it’s my truth now,” Cormier said. “I can honestly say I am one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time and have no reservations about it and no one can question it.
“They can only say ‘you know what, he’s accomplished, he has that right, and he’s earned it.'”