Daniel Cormier will not take another fight after his UFC 173 showdown with Dan Henderson—unless it involves a shiny, golden belt.
The former Strikeforce heavyweight champion-turned UFC light heavyweight fighter feels that a win over Henderson solidifies his status as the division's No. 1 contender and that taking any fight that does not involve the strap does not interest him.
Beyond that, the UFC has already confirmed that he's next—should he get past Hendo—and he does not want to deviate from that plan in any way.
"'Daniel, you win, you're in,' that's what I was told," Cormier told MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I've waited long enough. This will be my fifth top-10 win, and I'm not fighting anyone else."
While Cormier (14-0) is relatively new to the sport of MMA, he's a longtime competitor in wrestling and made the U.S. Olympic team in 2004 and 2008. This success on the mat led him to enter the sport of MMA late in life and now, at 35 years old, Cormier isn't looking to prolong his chance at achieving the sport's ultimate glory.
Because of that, he feels comfortable waiting for his chance at UFC light heavyweight championship, which is currently held by Jon Jones. Jones, however, just defeated Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 and is set to take on Alexander Gustafsson for the second time some time this year.
With no official timetable set for the Jones vs. Gustafsson rematch, Cormier may be out of action for a significant amount of time, should he wait his turn.
According to "DC," that's just fine.
"I'd wait. I'd wait for my title shot," Cormier said. "If it took nine months, I'd wait nine months. It's time for me to fight for the belt."
Of course, Henderson can ruin all of this with one devastating right hand, his strongest attack which has been deemed the "H-bomb." Cormier recognizes this challenge and he knows that the task ahead is a significant one.
"My favorite fight of all time is Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua, the first one," Cormier said. "Dan laid under Shogun for four and a half minutes in the mount last time they fought in the fifth round, and he didn’t get finished…He did just enough to not get finished. Dan Henderson could potentially put me in that war…I could go down, I could be hurt very badly in this fight."
Still, Cormier cannot help but fantasize about a matchup with Jones. It means fighting for the belt, showcasing his full arsenal of skills and a chance to defeat someone who is perhaps the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
And for Cormier, it's possible.
"It's the things that you can’t measure on a piece of paper that it’s going to take to beat Jon Jones, the things that I believe I hold in spades," Cormier said.
Whether or not this holds true remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: If Cormier gets past Henderson, we're going to find out for certain.
DC won't have it any other way.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!