Mixed martial artists come from every corner of the globe, bearing a variety of styles. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring disciplines prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best mixed martial artist of all-time from each of the 50 states. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.
Daniel Cormier currently reigns atop the Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight division and ranks among the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. He owns some of the best pure wrestling in MMA, thanks to an amateur pedigree that saw him become an NCAA All-American at Oklahoma State University and represent the United States at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Like many former wrestlers who transition to MMA, “DC” adjusted nicely to his new surroundings and quickly established himself as a major heavyweight threat. Cormier captured titles inside the King of the Cage and Xtreme MMA organizations before winning the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix in 2012. However, it was not until he dropped to 205 pounds that he found his sweet spot. He has gone 4-1 since, losing only to bitter rival Jon Jones in their clash for the UFC light heavyweight title in January 2015. When Jones’ inability to stay out of trouble away from the cage resulted in his being stripped of the belt, Cormier swooped in and snatched the vacant championship by pummeling Anthony Johnson at UFC 187. He then defended it in a split decision over Alexander Gustafsson in October.
Cormier, now 15-1, will face Jones again in the UFC 200 main event on July 9 in Las Vegas, where a win would give him a claim as an all-time great. Whether he wins or loses, the Lafayette, Louisiana, native has already established himself as the top fighter to come out of the “Pelican State.”
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