Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Anthony Johnson was a terrific fighter at 170. And he was far better at 205. While fighters endanger their health trying to drop weight, there is a growing belief that cutting may not actually increase performance. Daniel Cormier weighed in at 246 for his superfight vs. then heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, 41 pounds over the 205 he has to make for light heavyweight title fights. It was even heavier than Miocic who made 242.5.

There was a near universal belief that the Daddest Man on the Planet would be slower, with less endurance. But he wasn't, as Cormier explained during a recent appearance on Luke Thomas' The MMA Hour.

“I felt like I was faster," said DC, as transcribed by Shaun Al-Shatti for MMA Fighting. "Because at 205, I think my speed, it doesn’t jump out at you as much because all of these guys that I fight are pretty fast. So I think I felt faster, I think I felt faster at heavyweight, and then just not having to do that weight cut, it makes such a big deal, man. That weight cut can really, really — it can really brutalize you.

“[Without the weight cut] I was so excited, man. I was in the back trying to contain myself. Like, how do I stay the course and not put myself in the fight too early, because without having to worry about the weight management, now I have all this time to think about the fight, and I do a lot of visualization and stuff. So it’s like, when I visualize, I’m like, ‘Wow, I could go and just fight right now. I don’t have to cut any weight. How do I monitor myself and manage my energy in regards to the fight?’ I can’t get too excited, so I was really trying to peel myself back a lot. I was trying to peel myself back a lot when it came to thinking about the fight.”

“For a guy who was almost, like, right on the cusp but never was able to push through, if you just keep trying, man, and just keep working, keep getting better, keep pushing for goal after goal after goal — if you fail at something … just keep trying and keep giving yourself opportunities to do something special, and I did that and did that and did that, and eventually I got it done. It’s an amazing feeling.”

“You know what’s crazy? It’s just that, it’s the mountaintop, right? It’s like, man, I won the heavyweight championship of the world. I’m the UFC light heavyweight champion. How do you top that? And if I’ve got to be honest, I feel like I could fight until I’m 42 or 43 years old, but my family and I, we made a decision a long time ago on when I was going to be done, and I’m going to stick to that. So I’m not leaving because I can’t compete, obviously. I’m leaving because it’s something that we decided to do a while ago.”

It is believed that Cormier will defend his heavyweight belt vs. Brock Lesnar early next year, and that he will defend the light heavyweight belt perhaps in November. And then he will retire as one of the greatest of all time.