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Daniel Cormier from rags to riches: ‘I was a broken man when I started fighting’

Daniel Cormier is savouring every moment at the top of the UFC because he knows all too well what it’s like to be without it.

Daniel Cormier knows all too well what it’s like to be the best and fall flat on your face.

The reigning UFC heavyweight champion spoke with press at the UFC 241 media day on Thursday. When asked by MMA Mania about the root of his modesty, Cormier reflected on his time in wrestling. “When I left the Olympics after the second time, there wasn’t much left of Daniel Cormier. You’re a guy who captained the Olympic team and you don’t get to step on the mat? It broke me down and it should have,” he expressed. “So when I got this second opportunity to start fighting I understood who I was — because I was broken. I was like a broken man when I started fighting.”

“I was like, ‘man, if this thing works out for me, I want to appreciate these opportunities. I took for granted the Olympics,” he continued. “I took for granted being the number one guy in the U.S. I want to make sure I don’t take this for granted. I always work hard and I always stay true to the lessons I learned as a young kid wrestling.”

Cormier, 40, attributed much of his pleasant demeanor (outside of the cage) to his upbringing in Lafayette, Louisiana. “I’m from a place where all you have is to try and be nice,” he shared. “Even when we went to on a media tour when I was going to fight Ryan Bader, everybody was so damn nice to him in Louisiana. I’m like, ‘hey, guys, he’s fighting me. Don’t cheer for this dude.’ It made him feel great, but I think that’s what we do. We try and be nice.”

Cormier (21-1-0-1) defends his heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic (18-3) at UFC 241 on Sat., Aug. 17 in Anaheim. MMAmania.com will be on the ground for live updates and post-fight coverage of all the action.

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