When it comes to the debate about the greatest of all time in mixed martial arts, Daniel Cormier believes there are certain fighters who have already eliminated themselves thanks to performance enhancing drug use.
In the lead-up to his fight against heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, Cormier has been asked numerous times if a win would put him among the best fighters in the history of the sport.
It’s tough to deny Cormier’s credentials — undefeated at heavyweight, a multi-time defending light heavyweight champion, and adding a second UFC title would certainly cement his legacy as one of the greatest fighters to ever step inside the Octagon.
That being said, Cormier can’t mention the idea of being the greatest of all time without getting clubbed in the head by references to Jon Jones, who he’s faced on two separate occasions and come up short both times.
Unfortunately, the second fight was overturned to a no contest because Jones later tested positive for steroids — his second strike against the UFC’s anti-doping policy after a previous suspension for another failed drug test — and he remains on the sidelines awaiting word on when he’ll be allowed to fight again.
Because of Jones’ history with performance enhancing drugs — a dubious honor, he also shares with former middleweight champion Anderson Silva — Cormier believes both should be eliminated from that debate about the best fighters in the history of the sport.
“Any time a guy does performance enhancing drugs and on multiple occasions, they eliminate themselves,” Cormier said during the UFC 226 media conference call on Thursday. “So for as great as Anderson Silva was, he tested positive I think two times. Jones has tested positive two or three times. Those guys eliminate themselves.”
Cormier feels like some of the fighters who have been busted for cheating in mixed martial arts have been given a free pass, while other sports shun athletes for even being accused of using performance enhancing drugs.
The reigning light heavyweight champion looks specifically at baseball — a sport where performance enhancing drug use ran rampant for several years — but now many of the athletes accused of cheating have all but been blacklisted from the sport.
“When you start getting performance enhancers tied to your name, there’s no way around that. There’s no way around it, and I think that of all the sports, the people that pay the harshest price are the baseball players,” Cormier explained. “Because when you have negatives tied to your name, they deny you the ultimate vindication. The ultimate goal of a baseball player is to go to the Hall of Fame and these guys aren’t even getting close.
“The Mark McGwire’s, the Sammy Sosa’s, the Barry Bonds — those guys aren’t getting close because they have those bad things tied to their names. As a sport, I think MMA needs to evolve to the point that the punishment for having doing those things is your place within the sport should be challenged and should be questioned.”
As far as his place in the sport after UFC 226, Cormier believes he should at worst be considered for the title of the greatest of all time considering no fighter in UFC history has held the heavyweight and light heavyweight titles simultaneously.
“I think I am. I don’t believe that anything else should be thought of. I should be in the conversation,” Cormier said.
“I want to be mentioned among the greats. The Georges St-Pierres and the Demetrious Johnsons, the guys that have done things the correct way over the course of their entire careers without that asterisk.”