Heavyweight Daniel Cormier is undefeated.
That’s a truth that is now accompanied by a second UFC belt around his waist, a belt earned when Cormier knocked out the longest defending heavyweight champion in UFC history with one short punch. As he turned away from a prone Miocic, arms raised, his Ultimate Dadbod jiggling, Cormier overcame the stigma being “second best” he had carried nearly his entire career. His two fights with Jon Jones. Just missing out on a medal in the Olympics. Nearly, but not quite beating Cael Sanderson in college wrestling. Cormier seemed destined to win the smaller tournaments, but never the big show.
Afterwards, he called Brock Lesnar into the cage. Cormier has long been a fan of pro wrestling, and his savvy callout got quite the response. Lesnar strode into the Octagon and shoved the champion right in the chest, leading to several smaller men interposing themselves between and Cormier’s boxing coach shoving Lesnar in return.
The ruckus caused a stir on social media from several fighters who were critical of the theatrics, calling them ‘staged’. Cormier had some choice words for them. Via MMAFighting.com:
“‘Staged, they’re idiots’ — fine,” Cormier said. “Stay broke. You’ve got a guy like Brock Lesnar in front of you and you don’t go crazy on him? Are you crazy? Brock is a pro wrestler, he does fake fighting. So I will do fake fighting with you until I put my fist upside your face. I’ll do fake fighting with you, Brock. And then I’ll punch you upside your head.
“So yeah, yeah. You guys call it fake online. I see a bunch of fighters. ‘Oh, it’s so fake, I don’t want to watch this.’ Tune in and keep lacing my pockets. You’ve guys gotta get on board. These guys get on the microphone after their fights and say, ‘Yeah, it’s whatever the UFC decides.’ OK.”
Cormier has a point- many fighters refuse to call their shot after their fights. He made sure to take full advantage of his moment- and he loved it. But he said Brock shoving him wasn’t at all scripted, or expected.
“When Brock was wrestling in WWE, he was always great to me and my family,” Cormier said. “We’d go to the matches, he’d take pictures with my kids. I guess when you step in the Octagon, your emotions are raised a little bit and Brock pushed me. And then Rosendo pushed him, which was absolutely crazy. Because Rosendo is like 5-foot-nothing. But that’s what my team does for me.”
And while Cormier loves wrestling, he made sure to remind us the difference: there is no script when the cage doors close.
“You know me, I love wrestling,” he said. “I watched some WWE stuff this weekend. I watched WrestleMania back in the day. I love it. I think it’s great. But look, Brock Lesnar is the champion of the WWE. So, when he comes over here, there’s no script. There’s no Vince McMahon saying, ‘Hey DC, easy on the punches.’ There’s no [WWE star] Braun Strowman where if Brock punches him hard on purpose he isn’t gonna respond. The moment Brock Lesnar punches me, I’m gonna get in his ass. And we’re gonna have him running across that Octagon like a lot of other dudes did. So he can be big and bad and tough right now. But once that cage door closes, he’s gonna have to answer for his words. And he’s definitely gonna have to answer for that shove.”
He also said Lesnar’s presence served one important function- made sure he didn’t cry in the Octagon again. Being one meme face was enough.
“So in that sense, Brock Lesnar stopped me from crying in the Octagon again,” Cormier said. “He kind of distracted me from saying all that stuff and that would have made me cry again. I don’t need to be another meme.”