Daniel Cormier: Cain Velasquez Gave Me his Blessing to Return to Heavyweight

By Matt McNulty Jun 28, 2018

UFC 226 is now available on Amazon Prime.

American Kickboxing Academy training partners and longtime friends Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez may train hard in the gym against each other, but don’t expect the two to ever throw down in the Octagon.

That camaraderie and deep familiarity is why Cormier opted to move down to light heavyweight in 2014, a year after signing with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, as Velasquez held court over the heavyweight division. Now, with Velasquez no longer heavyweight champion, Cormier says his friend and training partner gave him his blessing to take a heavyweight title fight against current champion Stipe Miocic.

“When I asked Cain about [me moving to HW], he was like, ‘You got the chance to do something special,’ so we decided to go for it,” Cormier told the LA Times. “This is the biggest fight in my career, it’s the heavyweight championship, against the most successful heavyweight champion in UFC history.”

Velasquez was heavyweight champion from 2010 to 2011, when he lost the title in his first defense against Junior dos Santos at the inaugural UFC on Fox. He regained the heavyweight strap from dos Santos in 2012 and held it for another three years before losing it again, this time to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 188.

With Velasquez no longer champion and having last fought at UFC 200 nearly two years ago, Cormier felt comfortable enough to move back up to his friend’s weight class once the opportunity to be a two-division UFC world champion presented itself.

Cormier was extremely complimentary of his UFC 226 opponent, but refrained from saying Miocic was the best heavyweight champion in UFC history:

“I still believe Cain Velasquez is the best heavyweight champion in UFC history, but Stipe is the most successful,” Cormier said.

Cormier will look to become the organization’s second simultaneous two-division champion at UFC 226 on July 7.

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