UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will serve as the honorary chairman for the 2016 World Cup of Freestyle Wrestling.
USA Wrestling announced the news in a release on Thursday. The World Cup of Wrestling will take place at the The Forum in Los Angeles on June 11-12 and will see eight of the top men’s freestyle wrestling nations compete. The United States squad is expected to include all six wrestlers who will compete for the 2016 Olympic team.
Cormier’s primary job will be to spearhead promotional efforts for the event by encouraging the public to attend.
“It is a great opportunity. You get to see guys in the final stages of their preparation. During off-Olympic years, you may get to see guys who are not peaked,” Cormier said. “This is in the phase of when they are peaking for the Olympic Games, two months before the competition. The foreign wrestlers will also be in peak condition. Not only will you get to see our guys at their best, but you get to see them competing against some of the best wrestlers in the world at their peak. It is very rare that we get that kind of opportunity here in the United States.”
Cormier was a two-time U.S. Olympian in freestyle wrestling and won six consecutive U.S. Open national titles. He was also a two-time junior college national champion at Colby Community College and an NCAA Division I All-American at Oklahoma State University.
“We have an amazing team this year. A chance to see them live is something you can’t get back after it’s gone. We have one of the better Olympic teams that we have had in a long time,” Cormier said.
However, the 205-pound champion will not be present at the World Cup himself because he will be in the midst of preparations for his rematch with Jon Jones at UFC 200 on July 9, according to the release. Cormier lost to Jones via unanimous decision in their first meeting at UFC 182 in January 2015. He captured light heavyweight gold after Jones was suspended and stripped of the belt last year.
Cormier revealed that he has been training with future Bellator MMA talent Ed Ruth, who previously spent some time with Jones at Jackson-Wink MMA in Albuquerque, N.M.
“Preparation is going great. I have had Ed Ruth in training camp to wrestle, Deron Winn in training camp to wrestle. I’ve got a kid from Iowa State coming in to wrestle also. I am wrestling with the best guys I can find to emulate Jon Jones,” Cormier said. “[Khadjimurad] Gatsalov of Russia was the best wrestler I ever wrestled, but he didn’t have the type of style and the funky ability of Jones. Ed Ruth is a wiry, tricky wrestler. I am bringing in guys who can give me that feel. I was outwrestled the last fight. He pushed me against the fence and took me down two or three times. That is not happening again.”