It certainly isn’t a key light-heavyweight clash against Rashad Evans, but at least Daniel Cormier did get his wish granted to remain on the card at UFC 170 this weekend in Las Vegas.
Cormier was devastated that “Suga” was forced out of their co-main event matchup as not only had he trained tremendously hard in making the cut down from heavyweight for his 205-pound debut, but also had family members making the trip from Louisiana to see him in action inside the Octagon.
So now instead of the biggest test of his UFC career against the former champion Evans, whose knee surgery will sideline him for at least six months, Cormier has to settle for a very late injury replacement in Patrick Cummins. Cummins is just 4-0 in his career against mediocre opposition, but has done his best to try and sell a matchup that most of the so-called experts see as a wipeout.
Cummins claims to have broken Cormier and made him “cry” when the former standout wrestlers used to train together. Obviously, Cormier has made a much bigger impact during his MMA career.
The unbeaten Cormier originally made a name for himself by capturing the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix title where he defeated the likes of Antonio Silva and Josh Barnett. He’s 2-0 inside the Octagon, registering wins over Frank Mir and most recently Roy Nelson at UFC 166. Cormier is determined to impress in the 205-pound division, and wants to eventually lock up a title fight against current champion Jon Jones.
Cormier really is in a no-win situation with this matchup, but has to find a way to get the job done in quick order and come away injury-free. He likely won’t receive much praise even if he looks spectacular against Cummins because the bout is seen as an inherent mismatch. However, there’s no doubt he will be moving on to elite competition in the light heavyweight ranks if he’s successful in his 205-pound debut.
As for Cummins, he’s talked the talk, but his 15 minutes of fame are very likely to end this weekend. If he lasts the distance that’ll be a victory in its own right.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports