Daniel Cormier got his start in MMA relatively late in life. He had his first professional MMA bout when he was 30 years old, an age when most fighters are well into their careers.
However, the man who would come to be known simply by his initials – DC – had two major tools that helped him become one of the best mixed martial artists of all time. Firstly, he had a very strong wrestling background, which included becoming an accomplished NCAA Division I wrestler and an Olympian in the sport (although he did not compete due to health issues).
Secondly, Cormier also had a rare combination of speed, athleticism and power that most fighters would only dream of having, which helped him immensely with the striking aspect of his game.
Daniel Cormier Bio and Stats
- Weight class: Light-heavyweight (205 lbs)
- Nationality / birthplace: Lafayette, Louisiana, United States
- Fighting style: Wrestling and grappling
- Age: Born 20 March 1979
- Height: 1.8m
- UFC debut: April 20, 2013, UFC on Fox 7
Daniel Cormier Early MMA Background
After the 2008 Beijing Olympics, DC made the transition to MMA and made his professional debut in September 2009 at a Strikeforce Challengers event, winning in the second round. It took just three fights for Cormier to win his first MMA title – which was in the Australian-based XMMA promotion.
It came against Australian pro boxer Lucas Browne, who proved to be no match for Cormier in MMA. In his next fight, DC beat fellow MMA veteran Tony Johnson in less than two and a half minutes to win the King of the Cage Heavyweight title.
He rounded out 2010 by defending his XMMA belt against UFC veteran Soa Palelei, with Cormier having given the durable fighter his only ever defeat on Australian soil. Cormier then returned to Strikeforce, where he was selected to be an alternate in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament.
A Grand Prix Legacy
DC then got his biggest chance to show his skills to the world when he replaced Alistair Overeem in the Grand Prix semi-final match against Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva. It was a huge step up for Cormier, as Bigfoot was 9-1 in his past 10 ten fights, with the most recent of those wins having come to Fedor Emelianenko, who was widely considered to be the best Mixed Martial Artist of all time.
Despite all of Silva’s advantages, Cormier passed his biggest test with flying colours as he floored Silva with a huge shot to the jaw before finishing him with his patented ground and pound.
He then faced another accomplished veteran, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett, in the Grand Prix grand final. It was another huge test for Cormier, as Barnett had previously only lost to three fighters in his 36-fight MMA career.
That did not deter Cormier in the slightest as he dominated Barnett for five rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory, which made him the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion. After defeating Dion Staring in his final Strikeforce bout, Cormier was signed by the UFC and pundits immediately touted him as one to much in the promotion’s heavyweight division.
Daniel Cormier’s UFC Debut
Cormier made his UFC debut against top ten fighter and former UFC Heavyweight champion Frank Mir on UFC on Fox 7.
It was a fight that showed Cormier well and truly deserved to be at the top of the division as he dominated Mir over three rounds to win via unanimous decision. He was then put against another big named Heavyweight, Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson in his second UFC bout – about that Cormier dominated en route to another unanimous decision win.
Despite a flawless 13-fight MMA career as a heavyweight, Cormier made the decision to cut down to light heavyweight, largely due to his good friend and training partner, Cain Velasquez being the UFC Heavyweight champion at the time.
The change paid off immediately for Cormier, as he beat UFC debutant Patrick Cummins in just 1:19 in his first fight at 205 pounds. He then returned to the Octagon just three months later, submitting UFC veteran Dan Henderson to extend his undefeated streak to 15.
Dominating the UFC Light-Heavyweight Division
DC was then given a shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight gold after being put against champion Jon Jones in the UFC 182 main event. While Jones had dominated almost all of his opponents in his previous fights, many pundits believed Cormier would be Jones’ toughest match yet, given his wrestling prowess and athleticism.
Although Cormier did give Jones’ some trouble in their fight, he would ultimately suffer his first MMA defeat as Jones used his long reach and superior game planning to take out a decision victory. Jones’ personal indiscretions, however, would lead him to be stripped of the belt two months later and the belt was officially declared vacant.
For Cormier, it meant another chance at the gold, which he won after defeating Anthony Johnson at UFC 187. In his first title defence, Cormier faced another strong challenge in the form of Swede Alexander Gustafsson.
Gustafsson showed great movement and used his length to trouble Cormier various times during the fight. However, Cormier persevered and took out a split decision victory to cement himself as the new top fighter at 205 pounds.
The Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones Feud
A rematch with the Jon Jones was slated to be Cormier’s next match, but a positive drug test for Jones kept him sidelined for one year. As a result, DC faced Anthony Johnson in another rematch and, much like their previous encounter, Cormier finished ‘Rumble’ by way of rear-naked choke.
The rematch with Jones eventually took place at UFC 214. Much like their first fight, Cormier gave Jones some problems during the match, but Jones delivered a perfectly placed head kick to Cormier’s temple and followed up with some ground and pound to finish DC.
However, Jones tested positive for anabolic steroids following the fight, and he was once again stripped of the title, which was returned to Cormier. Cormier then picked up where he had left off, defending his title against knockout artist Volkan Oezdemir, who he finished in the second round at UFC 220.
Soon following the victory, it was announced that DC would be moving back up to Heavyweight to fight champion Stipe Miocic. It is likely to be Cormier’s biggest challenge yet, but for a man who only started MMA in his thirties, Cormier is certainly no stranger to facing and overcoming major challenges.
Daniel Cormier UFC and MMA Fight Record
|Volkan Oezdemir||January 20, 2018||UFC 220||Win||TKO (punches)|
|Jon Jones||July 29, 2017||UFC 214||NC||NC (overturned)|
|Anthony Johnson||April 8, 2017||UFC 210||Win||Submission (rear-naked choke)|
|Anderson Silva||July 9, 2016||UFC 200||Win||Decision (unanimous)|
|Alexander Gustafsson||October 3, 2015||UFC 192||Win||Decision (split)|
|Anthony Johnson||May 23, 2015||UFC 187||Win||Submission (rear-naked choke)|
|Jon Jones||January 3, 2015||UFC 182||Loss||Decision (unanimous)|
|Dan Henderson||May 24, 2014||UFC 173||Win||Technical Submission (rear-naked choke)|
|Patrick Cummins||February 22, 2014||UFC 170||Win||TKO (punches)|
|Roy Nelson||October 19, 2013||UFC 166||Win||Decision (unanimous)|
|Frank Mir||April 20, 2013||UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez||Win||Decision (unanimous)|
|Dion Staring||January 12, 2013||Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine||Win||TKO (punches)|
|Josh Barnett||May 19, 2012||Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier||Win||Decision (unanimous)|
|Antônio Silva||September 10, 2011||Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov||Win||KO (punches)|
|Jeff Monson||June 18, 2011||Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum||Win||Decision (unanimous)|
|Devin Cole||January 7, 2011||Strikeforce Challengers: Woodley vs. Saffiedine||Win||Decision (unanimous)|
|Soa Palelei||November 5, 2010||XMMA 3||Win||TKO (punches)|
|Jason Riley||August 21, 2010||Strikeforce: Houston||Win||TKO (punches)|
|Tony Johnson||August 13, 2010||KOTC: Imminent Danger||Win||Submission (rear-naked choke)|
|Lucas Browne||July 31, 2010||XMMA 2||Win||TKO (punches)|
|John Devine||March 26, 2010||Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs. Mahe||Win||KO (punch)|
|Gary Frazier||September 25, 2009||Strikeforce Challengers: Kennedy vs. Cummings||Win||TKO (punches)|