While Daniel Cormier may never fully escape the shadow of archrival Jon Jones, he remains one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport and figures to be remembered as one of the most accomplished mixed martial artists of all-time.
The American Kickboxing Academy captain will defend the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title against Swiss upstart Volkan Oezdemir in the UFC 220 co-main event on Saturday at the TD Garden in Boston. Cormier, 38, has not competed since being unwound by a head kick from Jones in their July 29 rematch; the result was later changed to a no-contest when “Bones” tested positive for an anabolic steroid. Prior to his second encounter with Jones, Cormier had rattled off four consecutive victories. He has delivered more than half (12) of his 19 career wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
As Cormier prepares to face Oezdemir in Beantown, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He excelled at all levels of amateur wrestling.
Cormier was a three-time state wrestling champion at Northside High School in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he finished his prep career with a ridiculous 101-9 record. He went on to win two national championships at Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas, before transferring to Oklahoma State University, where he was an NCAA All-American, finished with 53 victories in two years and reached the national final as a senior before losing to the great Cael Sanderson. “DC” went on to qualify for two Olympic teams, finishing fourth at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece.
2. Few can match him statistically.
Cormier has landed more total strikes (941-435), secured more takedowns (15-6) and executed more guard passes (21-0) than his opponents across nine official UFC appearances, according to FightMetric.
3. The regional scene offered him little resistance.
In just his fourth professional bout, Cormier captured the King of the Cage heavyweight championship on Aug. 13 2010. He remains one of only nine men who have held the title, along with Bobby Hoffman, Paul Buentello, Manny Rodriguez, Tony Lopez, Tony Johnson, Tyler East, Nick Rossborough and Cody East.
4. He checks almost all of the major MMA boxes.
Cormier has defeated a former EliteXC champion (Antonio Silva), a former International Fight League champion (Roy Nelson), a former Pride Fighting Championships champion (Dan Henderson) and three former UFC champions (Frank Mir, Josh Barnett and Anderson Silva).
5. While he rarely goes the traditional submission route, he has a preferred method.
All four of Cormier’s submission victories have come by rear-naked choke. Henderson, Tony Johnson and Anthony Johnson (twice) were the victims.