After knocking out Stipe Miocic at UFC 226, Daniel Cormier added the UFC heavyweight belt to his shoulder with the light heavyweight title already on the other. As if that wasn’t sweet enough, he also locked in a very lucrative superfight with former UFC heavyweight and current WWE heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar. While rumors had floated around suggesting Lesnar wanted the winner of Cormier vs. Miocic, “DC” revealed he had no idea the pro wrestling star would be cageside that night.
”I run sprints before every fight, we find a hallway and I bust out as many sprints as I can to get my heartrate up,” Cormier said at the post-fight press conference. “As I was walking back into the arena I saw Brock Lesnar walking behind me so I’m like ‘Huh, what’s Brock Lesnar doing here,’ you know? And then when I’m in the Octagon waiting for Stipe he was standing there kind of smirking at me. So I was like ‘Oh, so I guess Brock Lesnar is here to pick a fight.’ So I called him out. I’ve known him for a long time, and I told him I’d kick his butt, and I will kick his butt when we fight.”
UFC president Dana White had said the heat between Lesnar and Cormier came from their amateur wrestling days, but Cormier expanded and said the in-cage incident occured in spite of a generally good relationship from back then that extended to meetings at WWE events.
”I’ve known Brock since 1997, that’s why when he pushed me like that it was very odd,” Cormier said. “Brock and I wrestled in the 1998 Junior College finals together. I was 197, he was the heavyweight champ. Then when he was at Minnesota I was at Oklahoma State so we wrestled each other twice a year at duel meets, not against each other but the teams wrestle each other. And then when Brock was wrestling WWE, he was always great to me and my family. We 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 as for those who thought the shove was pure pro wrestling silliness? Cormier partially agreed, before admitting he’d happily wrassle it up for fame and fortune until it was time to really fight.
”You got a guy like Brock Lesnar in front of you and you don’t go crazy on him? Are you crazy?” Cormier said. “When Brock decided to step into the Octagon with me, he’s a pro wrestler, he does fake fighting. So I’ll 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 the head.”
”Brock Lesnar is the champion of the WWE, so when he comes over here there’s no script,” he said later. “There’s no Vince McMahon saying ‘DC, lay easy on the punches!’ There’s no Braun Strowman that, when Brock punches him hard on purpose, isn’t going to respond. The moment Brock Lesnar punches me, I’m going to get in his ass and I’m gonna have him running across that Octagon like a lot of those other dudes did.”
“So he can be big and bad and tough right now, but when that cage door closes he’s going to have to answer for his words, and he’s definitely going to answer for that shove.”