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Daniel Cormier on new co-host gig on UFC Tonight, talking to Michael Strahan, and the expiration date on Jon Jones title

Cormier is carving his path for a life after fighting as the new permanent co-host on UFC Tonight. The No. 2-ranked UFC light heavyweight spoke to MMAmania.com about getting the gig, the fun atmosphere at FOX Sports, a surprise conversation with NFL Hall of Famer Michael Strahan, and the expiration date on Jon Jones' title.

FOX Sports

Things have been on a constant upswing for Daniel Cormier since replacing Alistair Overeem in the semifinal round of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix tournament in September of 2011. "DC" viciously knocked out Antonio Silva to the call of "Mama Mia" from broadcaster Mauro Ranallo and instantly put himself on the radar as one of heavyweight elites in MMA.

The former Olympian wrestler would go on to best Josh Barnett over five rounds to win the tournament and head to the UFC after one more fight in Strikeforce. After winning his first two in the heavyweight division, Cormier dropped down to 205 and has won two straight in that division and will challenge Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight strap at UFC 182 on Jan. 3, 2015.

His career outside of the cage is flourishing along with his 15-0 record inside of it, as it was announced on Monday morning (Oct. 20, 2014) that he is now the official co-host of UFC Tonight alongside Kenny Florian.

"Big, big deal for me man," Cormier told MMAmania.com on Monday. "It's something that I enjoy doing. It's a great gig and it's also... I think the biggest thing for us guys, when we are fighting, if we are not fighting, most of the time we are not making money. This allows me to always have security financially. This is something that I really enjoy doing and something that I really wanted to do."

Cormier is now 35 years old in a young-man's sport. MMA has seen many a fighter hang around too long because they have nothing else but fighting they can rely on as a source of income. The gig at FOX Sports lends to a smooth transition for when he ultimately does decide to hang up the gloves and it provides him with a great deal of solace during the present day as a competitor.

"When it is all said and done, I've started to carve out my path," said Cormier, who mentioned MMAmania.com as his go-to morning website. "This started not even two year ago. I started doing TV for FOX Sports only less than two years ago. UFC 155 was my first time. So to have advanced to this point in a short period of time is an amazing feeling. Especially knowing that I wan't the only guy that wanted this job. We had some amazing analysts trying to get this job and to actually get this job is a huge vote in confidence and it tells me the belief that they have in me at FOX."

If you watch UFC Tonight or any pre or post-fight show on FOX Sports you see the fun vibe, chemistry and family atmosphere that Cormier has with Kenny Florian, Karyn Bryant, Ariel Helwani, Dominick Cruz, Rashad Evans or whoever they have on at that time. They keep you informed, and are all very knowledgeable, but it always looks like they are all having a criminally good time at work.

"Guess what? If Rashad and I weren't talking about fights on TV, trying to tell you guys about the fights, we'd be doing it on the phone," he said. "Or we'd be doing it at a bar or watching the fights at someone's house. We'd be doing the same thing that we are doing on TV. And for you to say that it comes across that way, that is what we are trying to portray. We want you to feel that you are just kind of hanging out with us while we are talking about and watching fights."

"DC" admits it is sometimes surreal to walk into FOX Sports and talk to football broadcasters like Terry Bradshaw and Dave Wannstedt, among others. And he shared a sentiment that many have conveyed to him about their careers as broadcasters.

"There are all these guys that you know and saw growing up watching football and they are all there and we just sit in the room and talk," Cormier said. "And this is the conversation that I've had with multiple guys. 'What in the world are we doing here?' They sit there in amazing that this is considered work. This isn't work. I get to go and hang out with my friends and talk about fights."

And now that the No. 2-ranked UFC light heavyweight has been part of the FOX Sports team, new and crazy things keep happening. Like when he called fellow colleague Jay Glazer and received a huge surprise.

"I actually called Jay Glazer the other day and Michael Strahan answered the phone," said Cormier, like a fan geeking out after meeting his favorite sports idol. "He was like 'What's up DC?' I about lost my mind, it's Michael Strahan! I about lost my mind. Those things happen and it's crazy. Michael Strahan answers the phone and he's like 'What's up DC?' Oh my goodness, it's Michael Strahan. It's crazy."

Cormier said his training has been going great and the delay from September to UFC 182 in January has been a "blessing" for him. It has allowed him to better prepare for Jon Jones, who has won seven straight title fights since dethroning Mauricio "Shogun" Rua back at UFC 128, and make sure his conditioning is on point for a five-round battle.

"We've done a great job as a coaching staff, as a team, my family, we've all done a great job of positioning ourselves for a very, very good camp," Cormier said. "It was a massive benefit to actually have the extra time to get ready for this fight. I was concerned when it was only seven weeks from the fight. I sparred Phil Davis and I had done really good against some of my teammates that were fighting in other shows. But the more I got in there with a top-five guy like Phil, I got tired and we only went three rounds. I said 'How in the world am I going to add two more rounds of sparring in five weeks?' So I had some concerns."

"DC" will be behind the desk for some of the pre and post-fight shows for UFC 179 and he said he is going with Chad Mendes in the title fight against Aldo because the "long-reigning champions have an expiration date," naming Anderson Silva and Renan Barao as examples that the tide in the UFC is changing.

"I got to believe he can get it done, because I got to believe I can get it done on January 3rd," he said. Does Jon Jones have an expiration date on his title? "He's got one too," Cormier said. The undefeated fighter is looking to continue to ride this great wave of opportunities and good fortune as long as possible.

"It's been an unbelievable experience, an unbelievable ride and I don't want it to ever end. It's all leading to January 3rd."

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