Small and brawl: Daniel Cormier on why being a short heavyweight works to his advantage

Daniel Cormier (right) is hoping to prove you don't always have to be the biggest heavyweight to be the best. Photo via Twitter.

It's a small word after all.

At least for Daniel Cormier, who faces what is undoubtedly the biggest test of his young mixed martial arts (MMA) career on May 19, 2012, when he tries to eliminate Josh Barnett in the final round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.

Despite his perfect record inside the cage, "DC" is constantly forced to defend his decision to mix it up in the land of giants, as he stands just a shade under six feet tall. Part of that decision comes from a horrific weight cut that not only cost him an Olympic wrestling bid, but almost cost him his life.

The other part comes from the advantage it gives him over the other 265-pounders.

Cormier talks to Stephie "Crooklyn" Daniels about his speed and low center of gravity, as well as other advantages he might have over "The Warmaster" in next month's battle, after the jump.

"I'm definitely a lot shorter than (Barnett). The last person he probably fought that was my size was Jeff Monson. They had a pretty decent scrap. Josh won by decision, but Jeff is a tough guy. The guy can grapple and take a punch. He's a gamer. That can be an advantage to him, but can also be an advantage to me. My low center of gravity allows me to defend takedowns a lot better than most people. It's very hard to get to my legs. It's going to be really hard to take me down. There are a lot of positives to being my size. I'm a lot quicker, and I move around a lot better and more fluidly than some of these bigger guys. I think one of my biggest advantages is that I move around these big guys very well... Before the Bigfoot fight, everybody was talking about how he had a 12 inch reach advantage. I was like, 'Well, if he stands tall and tries to jab from the outside, I'm just going to take him down." You can't really stand tall. When we got in there, he was squatting down, and I was standing a little taller, because I'm very confident in my takedown defense, so we were close to the same height at that point. That's a big benefit to my height."

Cormier was an injury replacement for the now-departed Alistair Overeem and needed only one victory to reach the tournament finals. He earned it, too, by knocking out Antonio Silva in the first round.

Unfortunately he broke his hand in the process, but Barnett needed a cushion himself while he made amends with the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC).

We're just over a month away Maniacs, who ya' got? Short and sassy or big and brawny?

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