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Morning Report: Daniel Cormier says Luke Rockhold can’t help new teammate Volkan Oezdemir, because ‘Luke can’t beat me’

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On Saturday evening at UFC 220, Daniel Cormier will be defending his light heavyweight title against Volkan Oezdemir. It will be Cormier’s fourth defense of the belt but for this fight, the champ will be missing something he had before for his camp – former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.

Cormier and Rockhold are long-time training partners from American Kickboxing Academy, but last year Rockhold began doing his training camps in Florida with Henri Hooft, citing a need for something new in his training. The move away from AKA was amicable but now Rockhold finds himself a training partner of the light heavyweight challenger Oezdemir. It’s a potentially sticky situation for Rockhold, or at least it could be, except the Cormier isn’t worried.

Speaking recently on a Facebook Q & A, Cormier dismissed the threat of Rockhold giving Oezdemir secrets with which to win the title, saying that Rockhold doesn’t have any to give because Rockhold could never beat him in the first place.

“Luke training with my opponent?” joked Cormier? “Meh. It doesn’t matter, Luke can’t really help him. Luke can’t beat me!” Cormier said before laughing. “What’s Luke going to teach him?”

Big words from light heavyweight champion but if there was anyone alive who could teach Oezdemir a few things about beating Cormier, aside from Jon Jones, Rockhold could well be the best option. Cormier has faith in their underlying friendship though, saying in a separate Q & A, this time with Fox Sports 1’s UFC Tonight, calling Rockhold “an innocent bystander” and saying that he respects Rockhold’s decision to leave AKA.

“You know he’s not telling him any secrets,” said Cormier. “Luke’s an innocent bystander in this thing. I know that it seems odd that he’s training at a new gym, but he needed to. I’m always doing TV, Cain’s been injured, so we’re away. His training situation has changed and it was very brave of him to make the move to find a better spot for himself.”

Cormier will defend his title on Saturday night at the TD Garden in Boston Massachusetts. Meanwhile, Rockhold has his own title fight to prepare for, facing Yoel Romero for the interim middleweight title at UFC 221 on Feb. 11 in Perth, Australia.


MUST-READ STORIES

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Bundy. Daniel Cormier responds to Jon Jones’ polygraph test, references Ted Bundy.

Beef. Chael Sonnen says he and Chuck Liddell were in a backstage altercation at Bellator 192.

Scared. Vitor Belfort rips “scared” Michael Bisping for refusing fight at UFC London.

Weed. Cynthia Calvillo failed USADA drug test for marijuana metabolites.


VIDEO STEW

Some of the best work we produce.

Embedded.

Watch this KO to get hype for Saturday.

Liddell interview.

Ngannou interview.

Anderson calls DJ the GOAT.


LISTEN UP

Heavy Hands. Breaking down the major fights from UFC 220.

Bushido Talk. Discussing the lightweight title, UFC 220, and polygraph tests.

Submission Radio. Previewing UFC 220 with tons of guests.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

The best Tweet from yesterday. Incredible work.

I’m not sure what it means . . .

Thiago Alves is confident the UFC will eventually pay him.

Gotta be a blow to the self-esteem when you’re campaigning for a title shot and the UFC game doesn’t even have you in it.

Speaking of the game, a lot of fighters unhappy about things with it.

But this one is insane. Burns is a 3X world champ!!

OSP looking to fight a soon-to-be-retired middleweight.

Ilir wants OSP to wait.

The Hammer offering to step in.

If GSP grew a beard, he would look like Kavanagh.

Tommy Toe Hold.

Good signing.

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Who’s ready to see The Man Of Steel fight for the UFC?!? All my hard work is starting to pay off!! I just signed a 4…

Posted by Steven Timothy Peterson on Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Big moves for Kevin Lee.

The newest member of the Creative Artists Agency. I’m excited to announce I will be apart of one of the most premier agencies in the world of Sports, Entertainment, Music, and Television. From Will Smith and Beyoncé to Georges St Pierre and Cristiano Ronaldo, CAA represents the elite of the elite. I’m helping to bring MMA to the next level. Expect big. #DontBeliveMeJustWatch #MTP #25toLife

A post shared by MTP (@motownphenom) on Jan 17, 2018 at 12:57pm PST


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Humberto Bandenay (14-4) vs. Steven Peterson (16-6); UFC Austin, Feb. 18.

Tony Ferguson (23-3) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0); UFC 223, April 7.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2015: Conor McGregor earned himself a title shot, knocking out Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 59.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Daniel Cormier is too good for this sport, man. Just a perfect gentleman. And in a world without Jon Jones, he would undisputedly be one of the best fighters of all time. We should enjoy him this weekend y’all because we have very few Cormier fights left.

That’s all for today folks. Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.




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