Not Thrilled with Latest Win, Cormier Drawing on the Positives

Sunday, January 16, 2011

By Kelsey Mowatt

It’s no secret that many of mixed-martial-arts greatest fighters are their harshest critics, as in order to succeed at a high level in the sport, one must regroup from his or her setbacks, admit that improvements are in order and work hard to evolve as a fighter. Often, lessons can be learned in victory as well as in defeat, and following Daniel Cormier’s recent unanimous decision win over veteran Devin Cole, the former Olympic wrestler is looking to build on his performance and move forward . (Pictured: Cormier hitting Gary Frazier)

“From what I do in training at the gym, I know I could have done better,” the American Kickboxing Academy heavyweight recently told FCF, when asked to assess his January 7th, Strikeforce Challengers win over Cole. “I’m not saying that we don’t have decisions, obviously, that would be a crazy statement, I’m saying that what Bob (Cook) and I see at the gym is normally a lot better than what I showed on Friday night.”

The win was Cormier’s seventh straight since he transitioned into MMA in September, 2009, and marked the first time the 31 year-old-fighter was forced to compete beyond the second round.

“I did do some things that were positive,” said Cormier about the fight, which saw the heavyweight draw on his stand-up, wrestling and ground game to score the UD win. “The plan was to fight everywhere and be able to fight everywhere which I did. I just need to pay more attention to my corner...The biggest positive of that fight was going to decision, having to push through when you’re tired, when the dude is still there after you hit him with a hard shot, you can’t simulate that.”

Due to Cormier’s well documented wrestling abilities and the finishing skills he’s demonstrated in his first six MMA bouts, many observers had the highly touted prospect as a heavy favorite heading into the fight with Cole (18-9-1). The International Fight League vet pushed Cormier throughout the fight, however, presenting the kind of challenge Strikeforce officials had likely hoped for.

“I didn’t understand how some people were writing off a guy with like 26 fights, who had fought some of the people who he had fought,” Cormier said while discussing the speculation that surrounded the bout heading into it.  “To be fighting me, with just six fights under my belt, and a big reason I wasn’t able to finish the fight is because how tough he is. He’s a very tough guy.”

“Heading into the fight the odds were minus 1200,” Cormier added. “That’s ridiculous. For a guy that has six fights fighting someone who is as experienced as Devin is, I think people need to keep things in perspective. I’ve only been fighting for sixteen months.”

Cormier landing a left on Cole
While Cormier isn’t giving himself high marks for his recent performance, defeating an experienced vet like Cole, has only furthered his status as one of Strikeforce’s fastest rising commodities.  Recently the promotion made headlines by announcing a heavyweight grand-prix tournament, which will include several of the world’s more notable fighters like Fabricio Werdum, Josh Barnett, Fedor Emelianenko and Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem. Although Cormier wasn’t named as one of the competitors, the undefeated fighter would welcome the opportunity to test his abilities against the promotion’s best heavyweights, if circumstances warrant.

“I hadn’t really thought about it going into my fight,” said Cormier while discussing the grand-prix which will begin February 12th. “I think Strikeforce would have done both me and Devin a disservice if they had started tournament talk right before we were going to fight...I didn’t hear anything heading into it; my main focus was getting through that fight.”

“Now thinking about it; they have some really good fighters in there but if they need me I’m sure I’ll hear something,” Cormier added. “That’s how I’m looking at it. I think those are the best eight heavyweights in the world and I don’t think any other organization can put on a tournament like that. I’m super excited as a fighter and as a fan.”