Even the guys who tower over Conor McGregor are looking up to him.
It seems like a strange thing to say, but in a sense, Daniel Cormier is chasing Conor McGregor.
The undisputed light heavyweight champion will take on Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight belt in UFC 226’s headliner. After they finish their coaching duties for the Ultimate Fighter, they will begin training for the historic title fight.
If Cormier wins, he will become the second fighter in history to simultaneously hold UFC belts in two divisions. The first man to accomplish this feat played his part in inspiring the next heavyweight title challenger.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) January 27, 2018
On Monday’s MMA Hour, Cormier admitted that adding to his legacy was a major factor in accepting this fight. If he wins, he will become the second fighter in history to be champion of the two heaviest divisions in the promotion. However, he confessed that the prospect of following in McGregor’s footsteps inspired him more.
“I’m trying to do something that’s unheard of. I know there’s been two division champions. Randy Couture had the light heavyweight belt and the heavyweight belt, but he didn’t do it at the same time.”
“Conor McGregor is the biggest star in mixed martial arts and held two belts at one time. Now, I’m about to actually do that too. He’s been on the cover of EA Sports two years in a row, next year I go on the cover of EA Sports UFC.”
Like always, I'm gonna be in the gym everyday to help my brother @dc_mma become the next heavyweight champ at #UFC226. Once he wins, things could get interesting. #AndNew #WeAreAKA #GonnaGetMyBeltBack
— Cain Velasquez (@cainmma) January 27, 2018
Initially, Cormier didn’t seem too interested on moving back up to heavyweight after his TKO win over Volkan Oezdemir. However, he began to warm to it when he considered what it would mean if he won from a legacy standpoint. The financial benefits certainly played its role in his decision-making process.
In the end though, it was his training partner, former UFC heavyweight king Cain Velasquez who convinced him to take it.
“I started talking to him and he’s like, ‘I don’t think they’re going to give me a title shot right away man. So I think it’s a great idea. You’ve done it before. It’s a chance for you to try to make history.’ And I was like, ‘You know what, man? Let’s do it.'”
Now that’s loyalty. Especially considering Velasquez is looking to return to contest for the heavyweight throne this year.