Daniel Cormier knows exactly what it feels like to be engaged in a bitter rivalry leading up to a fight.
For the past few years. Cormier has been locked in a nasty feud with Jon Jones as they battled for supremacy in the UFC light heavyweight division. Cormier even admitted after his first loss to Jones back in 2015 that he let his emotions get the better of him as he became all consumed with beating his greatest challenge in mixed martial arts.
With Jones out of the picture right now on suspension after testing positive for steroids last year, Cormier has moved forward with his career and he’s now on a collision course for one of the most anticipated fights of 2018 as he faces heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in the main event at UFC 226 in July.
Cormier will be the first to admit that he has absolutely no ill will towards Miocic and would actually consider him a friend after they spent a day together last year filming a documentary special that aired on FOX Sports 1.
Perhaps that’s the best part about this upcoming fight for Cormier is that he doesn’t have to get into a trash talking fight with Miocic. Instead, Cormier just gets to focus on beating Miocic because a fight of this magnitude just sells itself.
“That’s what it should be. Stipe and I are ranked like No. 3 and 4 or No. 4 and 5 in the pound-for-pound rankings right now. How much better does it get than that?” Cormier said ahead of his showdown with Miocic. “This is as good as it gets in terms of sport, in terms of athletic competition.
“In terms of importance of the sport tied to one fight. It’s unbelievable. I’m so lucky to be a part of this.”
Now as much as Cormier will always be tied to that rivalry with Jones, he’s actually been very respectful for most of his other opponents in the past.
Cormier expects that to be the exact same way leading into the fight with Miocic as there will be no bad blood boiling over into the lead up to UFC 226.
All Cormier has to do is push himself harder than he’s ever pushed before to get ready as the light heavyweight champion goes up to face the heavyweight champion for the first time in UFC history.
“That’s what the sport is about. I’ve had that before when I fought Josh Barnett, all respect. I’ve always respected Josh Barnett. Dan Henderson, all respect. I’ve had these types of fights where I’ve had a tremendous amount of respect for my opponent and it does not change what I’m going to try to do inside of the Octagon,” Cormier said. “Yes, it does feel good to respect my opponent. I have the utmost respect for Stipe Miocic.
“If I would have just watched him from afar, as I did prior to the show [we did together], this would have been a lot easier. But after spending a day with him and actually learning about him and his journey and his commitment to his city and commitment to doing things the right way, it did make it to where this has to be something astronomical to make this happen and it’s something astronomical.”