UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is going inside the Octagon at UFC 200 with a mission: to beat interim champion Jon Jones. Cormier added he is confident he could beat Jones in their rematch and that will be one of his legacy in his MMA career.
With just days away from fight night Cormier told ESPN that his fight against Jones will be his crowning glory. However, a win would be a fitting icing on the cake as the 37-year old Olympian stated. He noted that losing twice to Jones would be a slap in his face and he does not know where to go if that happens.
It would be noted that Cormier was named as the champion after Jones was stripped of the title April of last year. For Cormier being handed with the title was an achievement, but for him beating Jones this Saturday would be “legacy” to remember.
“I haven’t experienced that shining moment. When [UFC president] Dana White straps that title belt around your waist, that’s huge. But to be truly recognized as the best in the world at something? I can’t say that I’ve felt that because Jon beat me in our first fight. I’ll say this, there are things I’ve done that can’t be taken away — but my legacy in mixed martial arts comes down to this fight. If I don’t win this fight, I’m dead. I have nowhere else to go. I will have lost twice to [Jones]. This is life or death for me and I’m OK with that,” Cormier said.
Cormier added that his first lost to Jones and his drive to defend his title are two motivations that he is carrying going into their fight which will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Aside from those motivation, Cormier is also gathering strength from devastating events that took place in his personal life. According to his cousin, Craig Andrus, wrestling has always been Cormier’s outlet in the darkest hours of his life.
It was said that Cormier’s father died after he was fatally shot on Thanksgiving. Then he lost a close friend and a cousin to separate car accidents during his high school days. In 2003, Cormier’s three-month-old daughter, Kaedyn, died in a car accident.
“If you know anything about Daniel, you know that wrestling pretty much adopted him,” said Craig Andrus, Cormier’s cousin. “When those tough times in his life happened, he always looked to wrestling.”
But going into fight night, Cormier stressed that he could beat Jones this time. He explained that during their first meeting he fought badly and won’t make the same mistake again.
“I truly believe I am better than Jon Jones,” Cormier said. “I still believe that the last time we fought, I fought badly. I don’t have to be mistake-free to beat Jones because I feel like I’m the better fighter.”
UFC 200 might be a redemption for Jones, but it is a matter of life and death for Cormier. UFC 200 will be Cormier’s rise to exert himself in the sport of MMA. But if the fight goes down to the ground, Cormier will sure make his statement that he can beat Jones and rise to the occasion.
Photo Courtesy: Daniel Cormier @dc_mma/Twitter