“It’s not that he doesn’t get tired,” Cormier said. “It’s that he’s built himself to the point where, when he’s exhausted and fatigued, he knows you’re a lot further along that path than he is. He understands that, so he’s willing to go there, because he knows you’re going to break first. And it really is mental. It’s not physical.”
The thing about that sort of toughness, however, is that the people who possess it often never let you see it. That’s part of the skill to it, in fact. In Velasquez’s rematch with Junior dos Santos, Cormier said, he appeared to be dominating with ease. What people didn’t realize is the extent to which he was being tested even while seemingly running away with the fight down the stretch.
“He told me that between the third and fourth round, walking back to his corner, he thought, ‘Well, I’m going to pass out.’ He literally thought he was going to faint right there, he was so exhausted,” Cormier said. “Then he went and sat on the stool and a minute later he got up and fought at the same exact pace. Nothing changed. That’s mental toughness.”