SAN JOSE, Calif. – At 34 years old, Daniel Cormier knows time isn’t on his side. But if he does go through with a potential move down to light heavyweight, he doesn’t want an immediate title shot.
Sure, if victorious over heavyweight Frank Mir (16-6 MMA, 14-6 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC on FOX 7's co-headliner, Cormier (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has talked about a potential move down to light heavyweight. Despite serious weight-cutting issues that previously derailed his second Olympic run, Cormier is gaining confidence that he could get down to 205 pounds in a safe way.
However, he knows it’ll come with a learning curve, and it’s a big reason he’s forced himself to tap the brakes on a potential title fight with current light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
“At first, I was like so emotionally tied to that fight,” he today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I was like, ‘I want to fight Jon Jones. I want to be in that division and fight him immediately.’ But I’m not a very impulsive guy. I kind of think things through.
“I’ve thought about it, and I wouldn’t be opposed to fighting one time before then just to see how my body reacts to the weight cut. It’d be very difficult to fight him in my very first fight (at light heavyweight), in a five-round fight, and my first time down in the weight and everything. As I’ve thought about it, I kind of feel it’d be in our best interest to maybe take a fight.”
If he defeats Mir in their network-televised bout at San Jose, Calif.’s HP Pavilion, Cormier said he, his management team and trainers will talk to UFC officials about what’s next. However, if he does eventually get a shot against Jones, who first has to get by Chael Sonnen next week at UFC 159, Cormier doesn’t want to waste the opportunity or have to stress about the unknowns.
“What if it doesn’t work out well?” he asked. “What if I get in a fight with a guy and I can’t do anything but wrestle him because my arms are tired and my body’s just not responding to the weight cut? I don’t want that guy to be Jon Jones. Seriously, can you imagine standing in there against him and not feeling your best? That would be horrible.”
But if he does decide to try his luck in the lighter division, Cormier said he’s going to be diligent about it. If he stays at heavyweight, he wants another fight in two or three months. But if he makes the plunge to light heavyweight, he could take off up to half a year to assure he makes the drop the best and safest way possible.
Still, he admits it’s a topic best discussed after Saturday’s fight. He hasn’t formed a definitive game plan simply because he’s so centered on the task at hand.
“Right now, I’m so focused on Frank, I haven’t really thought about the 205 thing,” he said. “… I’ve been so thorough in my preparation for Frank that 205 really hasn’t been on my radar. I’ll think about that whenever this is done.”
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