"I never fought a southpaw. Jeff Monson tried to fight southpaw, but he doesn't really fight southpaw well, whereas Frank Mir does. It's gonna present some different challenges. I'm lucky I got some good southpaws in my gym. Luke Rockhold is a good southpaw. That's gonna help me a lot, and let me tell you one thing, one of the biggest advantages for me is going to be now, Mo has access to some really good boxers now being that he's in Vegas in a few boxing gyms. So I can go there and work with some of those southpaw boxers. I will be prepared for Frank Mir on fight night," stated undefeated UFC heavyweight Daneil Cormier, who talked about his upcoming April debut with the organization when he takes on former champion Frank Mir. Check out what else he had to say about the fight and much more!
PC: How does it feel to finally have that last Strikeforce fight out of the way?
DC: It was a big relief. I had been waiting and waiting. I was supposed to fight in September and then November, and the fight card finally fell through. And then when I was finally able to get that fight, it felt good. But you know what? There is a more serious issue, Perc. Where have you been? The whole time from the beginning of my career FightHype, was my website. You guys were always with me, but then as I started to kind of make it, you don't interview me anymore. I don't get it, man.
PC: (Laughing) No, you know what our problem is and I tell people this all of the time. When they ask when am I gonna interview you again, we spend too much time talking off the record about the Saints, boxing, and everything else. We have talked a ton off record and damn near none on.
DC: That's a big issue, man, but when you got a lot of common interests, like when you start talking boxing and everything, we get lost in conversation and you forget to hit the record button.
PC: Dion Staring presented an awkward and tough challenge for you. You took your time and got him out of there. What was the plan going in?
DC: The plan was to do exactly what I did. I went in there and I wrestled him some and beat him on the ground and I got away with my health. I think that was the biggest concern going into that fight was to make sure I didn't hurt myself going into that fight. I tend to want to mix it up and hit guys with heavy punches and obviously that cost me in my last two fights, breaking my hand against "Big Foot" and against Josh. I did hit that guy pretty hard and he didn't go anywhere and my hand didn't break. So the reality is I got a great surgeon, Dr. Stidham, out here in San Jose. He fixed it up and it felt great.
PC: Gotta be nice to fight and then go right back into the gym as opposed to having some sort of hand surgery.
DC: It is a really satisfying thing, and to know that I have another fight scheduled. Selena and I were sitting down the other day and she just kind of looked at me and said, "You have another fight." I can't even recall when I fought twice in one year. I think it's when we first had my son, Daniel, when I fought Devin Cole, Jeff Monson, and Big Foot. That was 2 years ago. It feels good to know now that I'm fighting twice in the year and against top-level competition. Before, I was fighting twice a year, but I wasn't fighting the best guys. Now I'm fighting twice a year and I'm fighting the best guys in the world. It's a great thing. It's great to have a purpose, Percy. It's always good to have a purpose. To go into that gym with a purpose is a lot nicer than going in there to hang out and playing it by ear.
PC: So no injuries at all?
DC: No injuries at all. The fight was good. He was very tough and durable, but my coach, Javier, told me after the fight that I was the first guy to stop him by TKO or knockout. He had only been beaten by one referee stoppage. The rest were all decisions and submissions.
PC: Like I said, we talked a lot off record and I can tell the frustration was starting to mount for you a little bit. What was the most frustrating part about the way Strikeforce went down and having the rights to your last fight?
DC: It was just not fighting and being able to compete when I was training so hard. I didn't know what was going on and it was tough, especially when you see other guys from the organization already having successful careers over there in the UFC. That was probably the most frustrating. And then Perc, man, there was the inconsistency. There was really no consistency towards the end with Strikeforce. It was sad too because it was such a great organization initially and it was just sad to see that it had no consistency. I love competition, so more than anything, it was just not being able to compete.
PC: Did it become a situation to where you just had to be in the best shape possible and be ready for whoever because the opponents kept changing as well?
DC: Well, you have to, Percy, and the ultimate thing is you have to be confident in your ability. Whenever you don't know who you're fighting and they have a lot of question marks, you have to do whatever you can to put yourself in the best possible situation. All I can do is train hard and work on my overall game. Eventually, I knew they would get me an opponent and I can start doing fight specific stuff. But if you look at guys, a lot of the time, they don't train for that specific person. They focus on themselves and doing the things that they do well, and most of the time, it translates into a pretty good fight. So its confidence more than anything; confidence and knowing that if you go in there and you train and work on your overall game, no matter who your opponent is, it doesn't take that long for you to game plan for that person.
PC: You said you didn't want an easy ride once you were in the UFC. Frank Mir definitely isn't an easy fight, and especially in your debut. Tell us about the big UFC debut in April.
DC: It's going to be a good fight. I think the reason I was after that fight so much is because Frank signed to fight me. I was real big and like I told you time and time again, off the record like you say, I have told you that we set a goal and we have an obligation and we set our minds to something and we're scheduled to do something. I like to try and do it. Frank pulled out of the fight because he was injured. Listen, we can't help that. But then, he being a man of his word said, "Yes, I would like to reschedule it," and he would like to fight me and he said he thought it would be a great fight. He showed me that he's a good guy and he wants to do what he was scheduled to do. But outside of that, it's a good fight. I will say it again Perc, I don't want to fight at the beginning of the show when there is nobody in there; like me and Frank fight with about 200 people there. I want to be in big fights where the arena's full and the energy is already in the crowd and I'm in big huge fights, man. And that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm getting to fight the former UFC champion, on FOX, not FX or Fuel, in the co-main event in San Jose. I can't ask for bigger. I know how big these crowds can get because I was at the Robert Guerrero fight. I think double the crowd is going to be there for this one. It is very exciting times.
PC: When we thought it was going to be Frank Mir, you were worried about it being your first southpaw. Now you have to cross that bridge again. How are you gonna deal with it now?
DC: I haven't even started. Right now, I'm still in pre-stuff, you know what I mean? I'm back in the gym, sparring a little bit, but I'm not really grappling much yet. But I am sparring and hitting some pads and just kind of working my way back into fighting. But again Perc, like I said, I never fought a southpaw. Jeff Monson tried to fight southpaw, but he doesn't really fight southpaw well, whereas Frank Mir does. It's gonna present some different challenges. I'm lucky I got some good southpaws in my gym. Luke Rockhold is a good southpaw. That's gonna help me a lot, and let me tell you one thing, one of the biggest advantages for me is going to be now, Mo has access to some really good boxers now being that he's in Vegas in a few boxing gyms. So I can go there and work with some of those southpaw boxers. I will be prepared for Frank Mir on fight night.
PC: Obviously your friend and training partner, Cain Velasquez, is the UFC heavyweight champion again. If you are successful against Frank Mir, your name will start to be brought up in the title shot picture. Have you played this out in your mind or are you just taking it one fight at a time?
DC: You take it fight by fight and day by day and see what happens, but the truth of the matter is we already started to plant the seed for the big fight in the bottom division. I was just told recently that if Henderson gets past Machida, he would be before me to fight Jon Jones. There are a lot of guys in that weight class that deserve a title shot. But hey, that's a legacy fight for me, man. If I can get in there with Jones and if I can get the first one I gotta win the first one, but if I win the first one, I'm looking at a trilogy with one of the best fighters in the world and that's exciting, man. So my opportunities do not stop with me and Cain not wanting to fight each other. I weighed 230 in my last fight. We talked about that off the record, which was the lightest I have ever weighed for a fight and that's because I'm trying to stay in the middle now. I'm going to keep my eyes open to see where my best opportunities are.
PC: I wish you the best of luck in April against Mir, but we will definitely speak again leading up to the fight. Give me some closing thoughts DC.
DC: Thank you guys for all of the support, FightHype, for riding with me from the beginning, and Percy, the hiatus was way too long, Percy. We can't go 6 months in between interviews, man. FightHype is my home and I want to thank you guys for everything. I want to thank my sponsors, CF Athletic. Those guys are doing a great job. Go to www.cfathletic.com to get all of my gear. I gotta thank my management team at Zinkin Entertainment and my team at American Kickboxing Academy! I encourage everyone to keep watching. We had the highest winning percentage in the UFC and Strikeforce last year and we're gonna keep it up this year.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]