Though he's only 12 fights into his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, Daniel Cormier has faced some rather stiff competition inside the cage.
And he's beaten them all.
Among his challengers have been current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight number one contender Antonio Silva, who "DC" knocked out in the first round two years ago. He followed up that performance by outlasting former UFC champion Josh Barnett in the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, winning a unanimous decision on the judges' scorecards.
After finally making his way over to UFC, the onetime Olympian took on former three-time heavyweight champion Frank Mir at UFC on FOX 7. And though Frank was unable to give Daniel his first loss, he did manage to take Cormier the distance in San Jose, California.
Still, Mir wasn't a "tougher" fight for "DC" than his bout against "The Warmaster."
Cormier explains to Bloody Elbow:
"I think his toughness and refusal to be put away is a testament to Frank and his coaching staff down in New Mexico. He was well prepared. I thought that if I pressured him, with all the punches that I threw, and hanging on him and pressuring him, that he would kind of start to give up on himself, but he didn't. He was in the fight the whole time, fighting hard. His mind never got the best of him. I have a newfound respect for Frank Mir after fighting him. It wasn't a tougher fight than Josh Barnett, and I didn't take any damage in it like I did with Josh. I didn't take any damage, but I took a lot in the Barnett fight. I respect Frank because he came in phenomenal shape and his cardio was much better than we've seen in the past. I don't think he took as many risks as I kind of anticipated, but he never stopped trying to win that fight. The Frank Mir I fought on April 20, he beats a lot of people. With his skillset and him being in better condition, he's a very dangerous opponent for anybody. I really haven't seen Frank look that good in a very long time."
Regardless, Cormier does indeed have newfound respect for Mir after slugging it our for 15 minutes, something that seemed absent prior to their FOX showdown.
And while Mir's move over to Jackson-Winkeljohn Mixed Martial Arts didn't produce winning results in their first venture together, it's evident, at least to Cormier, the switch has helped the longtime veteran's overall game.