Not many people get a second chance to do great things.

On May 23, Daniel Cormier gets just that. After a whirlwind of drama that saw the light heavyweight strap removed from Jon Jones, Cormier offered his services to the UFC brass.  The offer was accepted.  After originally being slated to fight in Louisiana against Ryan Bader, the UFC thought it would be fitting to move Cormier to the main event slot for the now vacant title.  In front of the former Olympian is no easy task though, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, who himself is on quite a run.

So, what must Cormier do to leave UFC 187 the new champion?

Wrestling Royalty

While Johnson is no slouch in the wrestling department, Cormier is wrestling royalty.  The 2x Olympian has shown his amazing wrestling skills with highlight reel slams against fellow Olympian, Dan Henderson and veteran, Josh Barnett.  Look for Cormier to use a lot of movement and mix in his wrestling at the right time.  The movement will get Johnson moving forward to land his trademark bombs and that’s exactly what Cormier wants. Over aggression from Johnson should allow for easier takedowns from Cormier.

Mental Giant

The years of high level wrestling have made Cormier mentally tough. Cormier’s last fight was a decision loss to Jones, although it was a loss, he never “broke” mentally.  Cormier did slow down in the later rounds, but he was still in the fight and trying to win. Johnson on the other hand has had some questionable moments in his career.  A loss to Vitor Belfort, as well as Josh Koscheck, are a couple of moments Johnson would like to forget.  If Cormier can get the pressure going on Johnson and get him second guessing himself, I look for good things from Cormier.

A Full Gas Tank 

I wouldn’t say Cormier is a cardio machine, but I do believe his 5-round experience coupled with Johnson not having a 5-round style, gives him the edge in cardio.  While Johnson did look good in a three round victory over Phil Davis, the fight was fought on his terms. Against Cormier, I don’t think he will dictate the pace.  If Cormier pushes the wrestling in this fight, it should take Johnson out of his comfort zone and zap his gas tank.  I look for Cormier to look stronger late in the fight.

For the first time in several years, we will have a new UFC light heavyweight champion. While Johnson has the ability to win any fight because of his power, I believe Cormier has more weapons at his disposal.  I look for Cormier to employ a tactical grinding style en route to getting the gold put around his waist this Saturday night.

About The Author

Josh Cate
Staff Writer

Josh Cate started his martial arts training 27 years ago. Josh become instantly passionate about the arts. One road led to another in his journey. Josh holds the rank of 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, 2nd degree black belt in Shingitai Jiu-jitsu, 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Brown belt in Judo. In 1998 he had his first professional MMA bout. A bronze medalist at the BJJ nationals, gold medalist at the Jiu-jitsu World Cup, NAGA national champion are a just a few of the many awards on Josh's list of accomplishments. Aside from owning and operating Team Kaos MMA/BJJ in Knoxville, Tennessee, Josh has started working with Valor Fighting Championships and occasionally writes for mma websites. Be on the lookout for the Full Frontal MMA podcast that he is getting ready to launch as well. Josh is truly grateful for all of the opportunities MMA has given him and looks forward to this chapter with The MMA Corner!