Perhaps the title of this column may be a little misleading, but sit back and think how much credit and respect Daniel Cormier has received in the UFC. Until everyone’s favorite bad son, Jon Jones, failed another drug test, Cormier was always viewed as the B-side and even booed, although he’s done everything right in his career. Even when Cormier fought Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, the fans cheered on Rumble with more energy and excitement because of his one-punch knockout power.
With Jones out for the foreseeable future, it’s time not only for Cormier to get the respect he earned but also the opportunities he deserves as well. Following UFC 214, many were discussing the possibility of a Jones fight against heavyweight Brock Lesnar. Even UFC President Dana White said the UFC was discussing a possible Jones match-up against heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic.
Why not Cormier?
Cormier, a former heavyweight champion in other promotions outside of the UFC, is getting older. A move up to heavyweight could certainly happen and be a positive in multiple ways. For Cormier, the move could bring more exciting fights against the likes of current champion Miocic and other top contenders, as the light heavyweight division still looks to establish their best behind Alexander Gustafsson. The move would also clear room for Cormier’s teammate, Luke Rockhold, to make a jump up to the light heavyweight division, something he has been open to doing once Cormier is not in the division. Given Cain Velasquez’s constant battle with injuries, Cormier can’t really rely on that line of reasoning to put off a shift up in divisions. Finally, it would also benefit Cormier’s health after the Olympic-level wrestler faced severe consequences earlier in his wrestling days while cutting weight.
While Cormier has agreed on social media to fight Volkan Oezdemir upon his return to the Octagon, there are plenty of bigger “money fights” available for him. A title defense against Oezdemir is great, but a rematch against Gustafsson is even more exciting. If Cormier wanted to pursue a jump up to heavyweight, not many would be mad about him going after the champion, Miocic. Even crazier, as both fighters are getting up in age, Michael Bisping recently said he would fight “DC” in a pairing the light heavyweight champ seemed all in for as well.
The Bisping fight may be a little too far-fetched, but the idea of Cormier in the heavyweight division or in a fight with Gustafsson is much more exciting for the fans. It’s also a stage fit for Cormier.
Cormier has fought Jones twice. He’s had entertaining fights throughout his entire career. However, he’s never been given the spotlight and the microphone. He’s only been the backup singer to this point. Now is the right time and opportunity to give Cormier his respected place and deserved fights inside the Octagon.