Daniel Cormier made his long awaited Octagon debut tonight (Sat., April 20, 2013), as Frank Mir welcomed him to the big leagues in the co-main event of the UFC on Fox 7: "Henderson vs. Melendez" event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. The bout represented Cormier's first true test on the big stage under the bright lights and could very well make him the next top contender in the heavyweight division.
In between the second and third rounds, the referee toweled both guys off and Cormier expressed displeasure with this because he didn't want Mir to get any more time to rest. One would assume this would lead to his pushing the pace to start the final frame.
Instead, it was Mir who came out quick, looking to land big kicks and pushing forward with far more aggression. He was landing those shots too, having great success with a body kick and and elbow before Cormier chose to go back to his bread and butter, the clinch.
The big issue for Mir, though? Not enough speed.
Indeed, Cormier used the clinch to battle back and when he pushed off, his offense looked more effective if only because he got it off much quicker. Another clinch went nowhere and the referee reset the two in the center of the cage with 2:30 remaining and color commentator Joe Rogan saying this was "for his career."
That being Mir, of course.
But instead of working the striking game that was successful early in the round, Mir initiated a clinch. This was a disastrous strategy, as Cormier once again went back to holding on and simply cruising his way to the judges favorable scorecards.
Once again, a bad strategy did Mir in.