Daniel Cormier has never fought at 205 pounds. | Photo: D. Mandel/Sherdog.com
Light HeavyweightsDaniel Cormier (13-0, 2-0 UFC) vs. Patrick Cummins (4-0, 0-0 UFC)
The Matchup: Cormier’s gradual downshift to 205 pounds reaches its end at UFC 170. Although the American Kickboxing Academy standout has been exceedingly lighter in recent bouts, how he gets to -- and fares at -- the light heavyweight limit remains compelling.
Cormier’s initial 205-pound foray was originally scheduled to be against Rashad Evans, but an injury to the former light heavyweight titlist nixed those plans. Instead, Cormier gets short-notice replacement Patrick Cummins, a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Penn State University. The two-time Olympian has not hidden his desire to face current light heavyweight king Jon Jones down the road, and while the inexperienced Cummins is not nearly the measuring stick Evans would have been, it does allow Cormier the satisfaction of a fight following a hard camp and weight cut.
Given his background, Cummins should not be outclassed in the wrestling department. As one might expect, Cummins is still rough around the edges, but he has overcome that with power, athleticism and, of course, wrestling, finishing each of his opponents inside of a round. It is worth noting that his four professional foes have a combined mark of 10-20-1.
The Reign MMA representative is also interesting story in that he made a successful professional debut in Strikeforce in 2010 but then had to put his career on hold for more than a year after serving jail time for a 2008 burglary charge. His credentials and skill have made it difficult to find fights on a regional level, as he has not competed since May 2012. “Durkin” was working in a coffee shop when he received the call from UFC President Dana White; no matter how talented Cummins might be, it is quite a jump from barista to UFC co-headliner, even though he claimed to make Cormier cry when the two trained together. When the two squared off in an official wrestling match in 2007, Cormier took a decisive victory.
Cummins’ strength is undoubtedly wrestling, but he could find it difficult to impose his will against Cormier, who has yet to be taken down in UFC and Strikeforce competition. Cormier is also quite agile for his size, and he is capable of relying on footwork and quick punching combinations in addition to his wrestling. The former Oklahoma State University star is suffocating with his clinch work against the fence, although Cummins might be better equipped than some of Cormier’s recent opponents to handle that aspect of his game.
The Pick: Cormier’s quick hands, footwork and increasingly diverse offense -- he has become adept at utilizing kicks at various levels -- should make the difference against a foe long on potential but short on cage time. Cormier wins by KO or TKO in round two or three.
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