Despite making his promotional debut in 2013, Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier is one of the most successful mixed-martial-artists to step foot inside the Octagon. The Lafayette native has only tasted defeat twice in his professional career, during a run which saw him crowned both the light heavyweight and heavyweight champion, simultaneously. Cormier’s name has been floated around the conversation surrounding the Greatest Of All Time to ever compete professionally, along with arch-rival, Jon Jones, and there is good reason to support such a claim. A great deal of Cormier’s career has revolved around his intense rivalry with Jones, and more recently, current heavyweight best, Stipe Miocic.
It seems Cormier will more than likely remain in the shadow of the often controversial Jones, but as a standalone champion, Cormier has proven incredibly dominant. Before we divulge into the gold-laden runs of Cormier, we’ll take a look at a quite excellent résumé. Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, Patrick Cummins, Dan Henderson, Anthony Johnson (x2), Alexander Gustafsson, Anderson Silva, Volkan Oezdemir, Stipe Miocic, Derrick Lewis. Four former world champions.
An Olympic level wrestler, Cormier also possesses an often underestimated submission game, evident with his two rear-naked choke wins over ‘Rumble’ Johnson at 205-pounds, and submissions of the aforementioned Henderson, and Lewis. I mentioned in my Amanda Nunes feature, how the Brazilian will likely return to featherweight in her next outing, in an attempt to become just the second competitor to successfully defend titles in as a two-weight world champion. The first to achieve such a feat – Daniel Cormier. After a shocking heavyweight title win over Stipe Miocic, Cormier was drafted into the main event of UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden, where he managed a second-round win over, Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis.
We simply can’t overlook Cormier’s rivalry with the previously mentioned, Jon Jones. It’s a rivalry which initially began in 2015, and has brewed over the course of five years. It’s one of the most heated rivalries the promotion has hosted – right alongside, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, and Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. It’s crossed the proverbial line at times – both physically and verbally. We’ve had barbs revolving performance-enhancing drugs, cocaine, and even personal jabs.
Ahead of their scheduled first meeting at UFC 178, things got particularly heated at a pre-fight press conference. During a staredown between the two, Jones and Cormier clashed heads with Cormier eventually shoving Jones before the champion dropped his title and began swinging punches before both men crashed through the promotional backdrop and onto the ground. Security eventually corralled the two with Jones later pulling from the fight due to injury and the pairing was re-booked for UFC 182 the following January.
Even when their matchup at UFC 182 culminated, the final buzzer was met with a couple of strikes by both men as the referee, Herb Dean stepped in. Tension continued to flare over the coming years, as Cormier rose to light heavyweight prominence, and Jones dealt with legal issues outside of the cage, and a suspension due to a failed drug test ahead of a rematch with Cormier scuppered the UFC 200 main event. At UFC 214, Jones, seemingly put the final nail in the rivalry coffin, as he scored a highlight-reel, thrid round knockout via a pre-fight predicted head kick. The following month, Jones was again stripped of the title, having tested positive for the banned substance, Turinabol.
Upon his reinstating as light heavyweight champion, Cormier handed Swiss finisher Oezdemir his first loss in the promotion, before securing success against Stipe Miocic. The 40-year-old was widely expected to retire after his most recent knockout defeat to Miocic, but with a rubber-match between the two widely rumored to take place this summer, Cormier will subsequently postpone his retirement once again. For his résumé as a whole, dominance in his wins, and trophy cabinet, Daniel Cormier takes the #3 stop on this Top 10 list.