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Two-division UFC champ Daniel Cormier: ‘I felt faster at heavyweight’ without the ‘brutalizing’ weight cut

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After five years of competing at 205 pounds, Daniel Cormier was once again at heavyweight on Saturday night. His first task back at his original weight class was a super-fight against Stipe Miocic.

The 39-year-old Cormier ended up knocking out Miocic in the first round to become the second simultaneous two-division world champion in the UFC. And while it may have seemed to be a daunting task to be back at heavyweight, “DC” says he actually feels better than ever, since he last fought at the said weight class in 2013.

“I felt like I was faster, because at 205, I think my speed, it doesn’t jump out at you as much because all of these guys that I fight are pretty fast,” Cormier told Luke Thomas on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “So I think I felt faster, I think I felt faster at heavyweight, and then just not having to do that weight cut, it makes such a big deal, man. That weight cut can really, really — it can really brutalize you.”

“[Without the weight cut] I was so excited, man,” he added. “I was in the back trying to contain myself. Like, how do I stay the course and not put myself in the fight too early, because without having to worry about the weight management, now I have all this time to think about the fight, and I do a lot of visualization and stuff.

“So it’s like, when I visualize, I’m like, ‘Wow, I could go and just fight right now. I don’t have to cut any weight. How do I monitor myself and manage my energy in regards to the fight?’ I can’t get too excited, so I was really trying to peel myself back a lot. I was trying to peel myself back a lot when it came to thinking about the fight.”

Cormier will likely be facing Brock Lesnar for his maiden title defense at heavyweight, and the two already had the chance to get a feel of each other on Saturday night. After experiencing how it was to be pushed by the former heavyweight champion, Cormier was able to make a reasonable enough assessment of his next opponent.

“He’s very strong,” Cormier said. “He pushed me and I went falling back, and then when he got close, I pushed him back but I barely moved him. I’m like, gosh, I should’ve pushed him so much harder. I was like, ‘why would I push him so soft? Am I like kind of scared of Brock Lesnar?’ Like, why didn’t I push him a lot harder than I did?”

“But he’s going to get his. He’s going to get his.”

Cormier intends to defend the light heavyweight strap by the end of the year, before dealing with his first heavyweight title defense against Lesnar some time in 2019.


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