Patrick Cummins (center) is confident heading into his UFC 170 clash with Daniel Cormier. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Confidence is a must for a professional fighter, and Patrick Cummins has displayed no shortage of that quality ahead of his short-notice meeting with favored contender Daniel Cormier at UFC 170.
A former heavyweight standout, Cormier was originally expected to make his 205-pound debut against Rashad Evans at the Feb. 22 event, but “Suga” was forced to withdraw from the fight this week due to injury. Barely known outside of a hardcore MMA fan base, Cummins took to Twitter and offered to fight Cormier on short notice -- a plea the UFC heard.
This will not be the first time that Cormier and Cummins have crossed paths, as the NCAA wrestling standouts previously trained together years ago while Cormier while preparing for international competition. Shortly after Cummins’ request to fill in for Evans was answered, the light heavyweight appeared on Fox Sports Live with Cormier and UFC President Dana White, alleging that he once made Cormier cry during a simulation match.
Cummins recently conducted an interview with TJ De Santis of the Sherdog Radio Network, during which the prospect discussed his upcoming bout with Cormier, which takes place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Here are some highlights from that interview, which will air in its entirety on Monday at 1 p.m. ET/ 10 a.m. PT on the SRN.
On Cormier’s reaction to the Fox Sports Live interview:
“I definitely got under his skin. I don’t think he was quite prepared for what he was walking into, and I feel like it’s going to be the same way next Saturday.”
On wrestling Cormier in practice:
“We were at the world team training camp, and they paired us up to do a simulation match to get ready for the world championships. We came together, and he got a little frustrated when we had a couple of good scrambles and no points were scored in the first couple of minutes. He came at me swinging hard and digging underhooks, and I threw double overhooks on and tossed him on his head for five points. He fell out of bounds. I remember looking at one of the coaches who was doing the reffing, and he kind of gave me a look like, ‘Uh, this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be going.’ We came back to the center. He tied up with me, and that’s when I heard the sniffling in my ear. I was like, ‘This guy is crying. This guy is really crying right now.’ It’s as real as it is. I don’t know what else to say about it.”
On potentially violating the code of keeping experiences within the wrestling room private:
“No, I don’t think [I violated a code]. We were training partners. We spent a decent amount of time together. I wouldn’t say we were ‘buddy-buddy,’ but we were friends. I just feel like that’s the kind of thing that I would say to him anytime, like, ‘Hey man. Remember back then? Remember when I made you cry?’ Come on. You’ve got to own up to it. Whether it’s in front of a bunch of people on TV or not, that’s the way guys act.”
On Daniel Cormier as a fighter as opposed to a wrestler:
“I don’t think it comes down to how I feel about him. I think it’s the way I feel about myself. There have always been a few guys I’ve had trouble wrestling -- guys I couldn’t beat. Going back six or seven years, I always thought, if I could just punch this guy across from me, and it was legal, I wouldn’t have any trouble with this guy. That’s the way I feel now. I feel like MMA is such a perfect fit for me. I can take it to the next level of physicality and go out there and bully guys in every way possible. Just recently, I feel like everything has come together for me. My striking is there. My wrestling is there. My transitions are there, and this couldn’t have come at a better time.”