Daniel Cormier tied a ribbon around his prestigious amateur wrestling career earlier this afternoon, defeating former Oklahoma State University (OSU) teammate, Chris Pendleton, in an exhibition match at UFC's "Fan Expo" in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"DC" went down early (0-3), but the U.S. freestyle wrestling team captain (2008) stormed back to record a dominant win on points (12-5).
He summed up the experience in a post-match interview with MMAFighting.com:
"I didn’t get to wrestle in the Olympics, I didn’t get to do my last match, so I wanted to finish my career on mat, rather than in the hospital.I wanted to end it on the mat.... It felt crazy. I was so nervous before, and then Chris takes me down and he’s winning 3-0. It was kind of scary, man, I don’t like to lose. It was crazy.... It was a good finish. Now that I’m in the UFC and fighting in the UFC, and to do it at the Fan Expo, it means a lot. I guess it’s a symbol of completely finishing that chapter and moving onto the next chapter in my life. I can feel it now already there was something back with wrestling that I needed to get rid of, and now I can move on from it."
Pendleton is certainly no scrub. He was a two-time Big 12 champion who won back-to-back NCAA titles (2004, 2005) at 174 pounds at the expense of uber-talented mat rat, Ben Askren.
And Cormier was able to handle him despite an injured knee, one that will require surgery to repair later this year (full details here) as he awaits the winner of Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, which is now set for UFC 178 in Las Vegas on Sept. 27, 2014 (full details here).
Like a boss.