"I look at this as another fight and another chance to improve and get in the cage with a legend. I really respect Frank Mir and I appreciate Frank for even doing this. Frank did not have to do this. He just fought at UFC 146, which was one of the better cards of the year and bigger cards of the year, for the UFC heavyweight championship, and now he's gonna fight me in Strikeforce. It just goes to show you that this guy will fight anybody, anywhere
his submission skills make him very dangerous. That's what he is known for, submissions from the top and submissions from the bottom. That makes him very, very dangerous. And what we talked about earlier him being a southpaw. That's very concerning for me," stated Strikeforce heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who talked about his upcoming return to the ring to face former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir. Check out what else he had to say!
PC: I saw you at the Guerrero/Aydin fight. You picked a good one to go to. What was that like?
DC: Ah man, it was crazy Saturday night. It was a good fight. It was great. The thing is, Robert Guerrero sells here in San Jose. There were between 4 and 6,000 people there and it was a real nice crowd and a couple of good fights. Shawn Porter and Alfonso Gomez's fight was real good. I thought, man, these guys in the main event not gonna be able to live up to what just happened. I thought Aydin and Robert Guerrero put on a really good show.
PC: Are you starting to see the connection between MMA and boxing when you have a boxing guy like Al Bernstein talk MMA with you guys and you guys can talk boxing with him?
DC: Yeah. Al made a reference where he got to call MMA once and he got to call one of Luke Rockhold's early fights and how he thought it was cool. What I'm enjoying is I'm getting to go to these events that I used to only watch on TV before. I'm getting good seats and getting to watch high-level boxing, which is something I really enjoy, you know? It's cool watching Guerrero because he has that whole Northern California thing down to a tee, man. In between rounds, he's walking off staring at the guy like the Diaz boys do. That's a Northern California thing and he has it down. Every time he did it, the people went insane. When Aydin tried to shake his hand after the 1st round and he just kind of poked his chest out and stared him down, the people around here love that, man. The Bay area people love that.
PC: The big news for you is that you will be fighting Frank Mir in September. You told me the other day you thought it would be Nog. Was that a preference or just you seeing who was available?
DC: I was just trying to see who was available, man. I didn't know. When you look in the top 10 and the only thing they said to me was, it's gonna be a big name guy. Okay, Overeem is suspended, Cain and Junior have each other, and then it got down to Werdum. Werdum is free, but he was in the tournament, so I didn't know if they would actually send him back to Strikeforce. So then you start thinking Frank Mir is available, Nog is available, and Carwin and Roy Nelson got each other. The rest of the top 10 is finished. I figured it would boil down to Frank Mir or Minotauro Nogueira, and I was excited when they told me it was Frank. I've trained with Big Nog before, and I really respect him and he's not a guy that I want to fight right now and everything, and I have worked out with Werdum before too. So when it came out to be Frank Mir, there is no connection or anything, so I was real excited.
PC: This is the first traditional southpaw you will face in your MMA career. Are you looking forward to that or is it a "damn, a lefty" moment for you?
DC: Well, it's concerning. Not because he's my first southpaw, but he's my first southpaw that stays southpaw. When I fought Jeff Monson, he fought southpaw for the majority of the fight, but when I hit him, my punches would change him. It would kind of change his stance. Frank doesn't do that. He stays southpaw and he stays in that position for the whole fight. Listen, at some point, I was gonna have to deal with it; get in there with a guy that fights with his right hand in front and a right leg lead. I will deal with it as I can. I think it will open up a lot of my wrestling because I am a single leg guy and use kicks. I will be able to kick. It's a good position for a guy that doesn't mind kicking.
PC: After the Josh Barnett fight, you told me the only thing you didn't want to do is take a step backwards with this last Strikeforce fight. How important was it for you that they solidified a guy with Mir's name and skill level to close out your Strikeforce career?
DC: It means a lot. I mean, I did not want to take a step back in my progression. I've said it time and time again, Perc, that every fight has gotten better. The guys have consecutively gotten better; from Devon Cole, to Jeff Monson, to Big Foot Silva and Josh Barnett. Even before that, when I went from Tony Johnson to Sao Palelei, all of these guys were better every time. I just wanted to make sure to continue that type of career path. If I do that, eventually it will lead me to where I want to be and that's the best fighter in the world.
PC: Are you approaching this fight against Frank Mir as a gauge to see where you're at on your quest to the UFC, or is this just another fight?
DC: I just see it as another fight. I don't think I need to gauge where I am because I feel my wins and the guys that I fought show that I am of that caliber. I don't need justification. I think that the wins that I have and the people that I fought shows that I'm a UFC caliber guy. And obviously Dana believes that too and that's what matters. If they believe in me, the promoters, then that's what matters to me, and they do. I look at this as another fight and another chance to improve and get in the cage with a legend. I really respect Frank Mir and I appreciate Frank for even doing this. Frank did not have to do this. He just fought at UFC 146, which was one of the better cards of the year and bigger cards of the year, for the UFC heavyweight championship, and now he's gonna fight me in Strikeforce. It just goes to show you that this guy will fight anybody, anywhere.
PC: I agree. Much respect to Frank Mir for that. And he has obviously worked on his standup, and we know about his grappling skills. What concerns you the most about Mir's skillset heading into this fight?
DC: There are a couple of things. Obviously his submission skills make him very dangerous. That's what he is known for, submissions from the top and submissions from the bottom. That makes him very, very dangerous. And what we talked about earlier him being a southpaw. That's very concerning for me because I never dealt with it. And to have my first one be such a high-level guy, I'm really gonna have to cross my T's and dot my I's when it comes to fighting him. Those are probably my two main concerns. I don't really worry too much about size differences in my fights or any of that stuff. So I think just having a high-level southpaw in front of me and a guy with great submissions.
PC: Obviously Frank Mir is the guy in front of you right now, but before you had a fight lined up, you really talked about fighting Jon Jones a lot. Why is that fight so intriguing to you?
DC: Like you said, Frank Mir right now is my sole goal. Before, I was talking about Jon more openly because I didn't have anything lined up in front of me. Not that we were gonna fight or anything, but I didn't have a guy right in front of me. But I think when you think about fighting a guy who I think is the best fighter in the world, it comes down to him being tough, being a puzzle that's hard to crack, and I just think he is the best. I think he's the best and I want to fight him. We've gone in circles on a bunch of issues and I just think it will be a great fight. You want to fight the best guys. I want to fight him. I want to fight Junior Dos Santos. I want to fight all of the best guys in the world.
PC: Before I let you go, I want to ask you, what was your emotions like when you thought your opponent was gonna be Tim Sylvia? Obviously you are thrilled that it's Mir, but Sylvia is a former UFC heavyweight champion in his own right. What did you think when he was the guy?
DC: It was the same. I gotta prepare like a professional and get ready to fight Tim Sylvia. This guy accomplished the things that he did because he's a great fighter. Nobody accomplishes the things that he did in his career and they are not a great fighter and a tough opponent. So for me, it was let's get to work. I didn't know what the general public was gonna think about the fight, but I know in my heart of hearts, I had to prepare like I was fighting Josh Barnett. As I said numerous times, I prepared harder to fight Josh Barnett than I ever did in my life. Every fight, I gotta prepare like I'm getting ready to fight him or someone better, and I just don't think there are many guys that are better, so I gotta prepare for Tim like I'm preparing for Josh. It was gonna be the same commitment to training, hard work and everything. I would have been fully committed to Tim Sylvia if he was the guy they were gonna stick in the cage with me, like I was for Josh, Jeff Monson, Big Foot, and everyone else. The guy that's in front of me has my full undivided attention.
PC: Best of luck to you during this camp. I'm sure we will speak often leading up to the September showdown against Mir. Is there anything you want to say in closing?
DC: I just want to say thank you to all of my sponsors and my management team at Zinkin Entertainment, and all of my teammates at AKA. They make us who we are. We are a team and an army and that's why we do as well as we do.