For Daniel Cormier and Jamie Varner, UFC 173 was a Bonebreaker

By Luke Schmaltz
Daniel Cormier
Mark D. Smith – USA TODAY Sports

Rising light-heavyweight Daniel Cormier is tough alright, and then there’s lightweight Jamie Varner, whose display of a superhuman will to chew through pain was one of the top spectacles at UFC 173.

It’s no secret that Cormier has had issues with his weight. Dropping pounds the wrong way cost him the ability to participate in the 2008 Olympics. The soon-to-be title contender was no doubt hungry when he stepped into the octagon with Dan Henderson, and Cormier literally ate his opponent’s lunch. When he body slammed Hendo, he must have been imagining he was biting into a huge salami sandwich because when the impact hit, Cormier broke a tooth. So much for mouth guards. Hopefully he didn’t swallow the fragment.

Jamie Varner broke two bones in his left ankle in the opening moments of the first round against James Krause and inexplicably continued to fight on a mangled paw, in spite of what could only have been an excruciating situation. Krause ruthlessly kept targeting the ankle as it was visibly swelling, and alas Varner had to stop. What kept him going for as long as he did has been a perplexing question. Was it nerves of steel, the pain-neutralizing effects of adrenalin or just plain old guts and heart? Most folks who were compelled by the circumstances are opting to call it the latter scenario, for the simple fact that it adds to an incredibly inspiring fight story.

And then there’s Chael Sonnen, who while calling the fight for Fox Sports, could not resist the temptation to spout some controversy. He accused Varner of faking the injury in order to get out of fighting, which is almost as baffling as the wounded man’s display of toughness and grit.

In the end, Cormier and Henderson are still pals, Varner and Krause at least shook hands in a civil manner after the fight and Sonnen … wait for it … actually apologized to Varner. Granted it was via text but still, another amazing feat by a fighter.

OK, enough with the touchy-feely sentiments. Time to get back to breaking stuff — this is MMA after all.

Luke Schmaltz is a Combat Sports writer for Follow him on Twitter @lukeschmaltz, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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