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Daniel Cormier doesn’t want to ‘just wrestle’ at UFC 252, aims to do everything in final fight

Former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is looking to showcase a complete arsenal of skills in his final trip to the cage later tonight (Sat., Aug. 15, 2020) at UFC 252 live on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cormier, who will be taking on UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in the main event to settle their legendary trilogy, plans to retire after this weekend’s festivities. The former champion is now 41 years of age and simply has nothing left to prove. Win, lose, or draw, “DC” will go down as one of the best fighters to ever do it.

That said, Cormier is a competitor to a fault. He will not quit and he will not waver in his final Octagon appearance. And while some might think that the former Olympic wrestler would lean more on his ground game to subdue Miocic’s striking in the third installment, that simply isn’t the case. Cormier is looking to display ever skill he can inside of the cage at UFC 252, not just his wrestling.

“Now, the easiest path for me is to try and take him down and hold him down. When I got the takedown the first time, I held him there for about three minutes. But, it takes energy to do that. But, I just don’t want to take him down, I want to fight him,” Daniel Cormier said at the UFC 252 pre-fight press conference (see it HERE). “I like punching him in the face, it is fun, I enjoy it, his head just kind of stays there. So, I like punching him, so, I’m going to punch him, I’m going to wrestle him, I’m going to do everything. I think everybody talks about, oh you are an Olympic level wrestler just go take this dude down. Dude knows how to wrestle, I felt it immediately when I grabbed his leg.

“I understand he has the skills to defend takedowns, he took me down. It is not as simple as I just go take him down,” Cormier continued. “But, I do believe if I can get to his legs and extend the wrestling sequences then I will come out on top. I feel like I can do that against anyone. But, I just want to fight him, like I don’t want to just wrestle him, I want to fight him, too.”

Cormier is right in his assessment of Miocic. The current UFC heavyweight champion is no slouch in the grappling department. In fact, Miocic sports a 73 percent takedown defense inside of the Octagon. For a point of reference, Cormier has a 76 percent takedown defense and he’s one of the best wrestlers to ever step foot inside of the cage. Simply put, Miocic isn’t going to be easy to get to the ground even if that’s the only thing “DC” tries to do.

That said, while Cormier plans on mixing things up in his final UFC fight things could change quickly if Miocic goes back to the same body shots that he used to wilt Cormier in their rematch. Miocic was able to tire the former champion with punches to the lower body and ultimately had his way on the feet. If Miocic follows the same gameplan this time around it could force Cormier to abandon his well-rounded approach and quickly go back to his bread and butter on the mat.

We shall see one way or another later this evening at UFC 252. Even if Cormier is unable to get Miocic to the ground he still has a really good chance of pulling out the win. Just look at what happened in their first fight.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 252 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.