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UFC 179 preview: Daniel Cormier breaks down Aldo vs. Mendes, Teixeira vs. Davis

The recently announced co-host of UFC Tonight will be in studio this weekend for the UFC 179 pre and post-fight shows on FOX Sports 1, and the No. 2-ranked UFC light heavyweight spoke to about the featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes as well as the co-main between Phil Davis and Glover Teixeira.

FOX Sports

Daniel Cormier is the No. 2-ranked UFC light heavyweight and will face Jon Jones for the 205-pound title at UFC 182 on January 3, 2015.

In the last two years, he has also become one of the best fight analysts in the sport. So much so, that FOX Sports recently announced him as the permanent co-host alongside Kenny Florian on UFC Tonight. Cormier spoke to recently about the new gig and his ongoing preparation for the title fight against Jones.

The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) team captain will be back behind the desk for the UFC 179 pre and post-fight shows this weekend, so we had him break down the main and co-main events taking place tonight (Oct. 25, 2014) in Brazil and give his predictions for the winners of each fight.

Phil Davis vs. Glover Teixeira:

"I think it is a good fight. I think it is a tough fight. Phil is one of my friends. He came out to help me in my preparation for Jones before the fight got pushed back. I believe two things have had to happen for Phil in the last six/seven months since he fought Anthony Johnson. One, he has to get more comfortable getting hit by one of these power strikers. When Johnson hit him, he wasn't able to go and secure his takedowns. It seemed to throw him into a weird space where he was struggling to get his footing and he looked uncomfortable for the whole 15 minutes. That's because Anthony is a big, strong power striker, as is Glover Teixeira.

Phil Davis is going to be faster than Glover Teixeira inside the Octagon. He needs to use his feet to set up his takedowns and use his strikes and his limbs. I thought he did a great job against Machida by actually mixing up his punches and his kicks instead of going tit for tat with him. Can he go tit for tat with Glover? I wouldn't advise it because Glover hits so hard. Glover needs to pressure Phil. I don't like to say it, because Phil is one of my friends. But as an analyst when you are breaking down a fight and you look at a Phil Davis fight, pressure is his worst nightmare. Rashad Evans put pressure on him and didn't allow him to take him down and he swept him 30-27 and then Johnson did the same thing.

So for Teixeira the key is going to be pressure, going forward, getting his hands on Davis. Doesn't matter where he hits him. He could be hitting him on the shoulder, no matter where, he has to get leather on Phil Davis because when he does it will make Phil fight skittish. He gets very skittish like a dog. You know those dogs that get a little skittish because they've been hit or something? Phil gets a little skittish whenever he starts to get hit by a power striker. Glover needs to get close to him, hit him -- it doesn't matter where -- to make Phil uncomfortable.

Phil needs to use his feet. He needs to use his speed and his athleticism. When Phil Davis was a college athlete he was an unbelievable mat wrestler and that has translated for him. He does a great job of controlling guys whenever he does get them to the ground. It's a matter of him getting the fight to the ground without taking too many hits. Phil may not be as tall as Jon Jones and those guys with the long arms, but because his body is shaped so different he feels much bigger than he actually is. He needs to use his range to try and pick Glover apart from the outside and set up his takedowns."

The Pick:

"Do I want to pick this fight? Not really, but if you make me I will be a homer and pick Phil Davis. You know good and well those Brazilian guys don't pick against each other ha ha ha."

Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes:

"I think for Chad he needs to actually go back to trying for the takedown. Obviously that is his only chance in a striking battle with Jose Aldo. I don't know many people in this world, regardless of weight class -- I'm not talking about featherweight, I'm talking about all weight divisions -- I'm not sure who can beat him in a stand-up battle. The one thing about Jose Aldo that will benefit Chad Mendes is Aldo is a power striker. He likes to stand in front and blast those leg kicks. He fights Muay Thai and he does fight Muay Thai specific, so he stands there a lot. He does stand in front of you. That will give him opportunities to get takedowns.

Last time they fought, we can't ignore the fact that Chad was actually going to secure a takedown when Aldo grabbed the fence and hit him. Would he have been able to hold him down? I'm not sure. We saw Mark Hominick hold him down, but Jose Aldo was dogging it at that point. I've had guys in my gym -- Gray Maynard -- who is an unbelievable wrestler, tell me he spent months with Jose Aldo in Brazil and he may be the hardest guy he's ever wrestled to take down. That doesn't bode well for Chad Mendes.

Hominick was able to hold him down for the majority of the fifth round, but I think Aldo knew the fight was in the bag and as long as he didn't get finished he was going to win and he was tired. I don't know if Chad can hold him down and keep him down, but Duane Ludwig has something figured out down in Sacramento, because none of us gave TJ Dillashaw a chance and the way he looked and the confidence he showed... that type of confidence is almost like a disease that spreads. All the guys can feel it. And I think that is why Chad Mendes is so confident going into this title fight.

My biggest question going into the fight is how big was the actual gap? How big was the gap between Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo in reality? We didn't necessarily get to see how far ahead of him Jose Aldo was. Yes, he finished him, but for me, I think that sequence was very funny. We don't know what type of fight that would have been if not for that one sequence with the finish. We don't know how big the gap really was, because guess what? I can tell you this. There is a big gap between Chad Mendes and the rest of the division. It's almost like the Velasquez and (Junior) dos Santos situation at heavyweight. I think there is a massive gap between Dos Santos and everyone else, but then Cain Velasquez is ahead of Dos Santos."

The Pick:

"I'm a believer. I've got to believe in these challengers because of my situation. I've got to believe in these challengers because of my circumstances personally. I've got to believe these challengers can get the job done, because come January, you guys are going to be asking the same questions about me. So I've got to believe those guys are going to get it done. I'm going to pick Chad Mendes."

There you have it. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 179 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET before the PPV start time at 10 p.m. ET.

See you tonight!

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