Cormier is the son of Joseph and Audrey Cormier. He has an older brother named Joseph, a sister named Felicia, and a younger brother named Ferral. When Cormier was seven, his father was shot and killed on Thanksgiving Day in 1986 by the father of his second wife.
In high school at Northside High, Cormier won 3 Louisiana state championships in wrestling. After 9th grade Cormier only lost twice, both times by injury default. His final high school record was 101-9, with 89 of his victories coming by a fall. He was twice voted the most outstanding wrestler of the state tournament. In 1995 Cormier won a bronze medal in the world championships in Greco-Roman Wrestling, in the cadet (15–16 years old) division. He was also an all-state football player at high school in the linebacker position, and had a personal best time of 4.5 seconds in the 40 yard dash. Cormier was offered a scholarship to play football at LSU, but declined in order to continue to pursue wrestling.
After high school, he attended Colby Community College, where he was a two-time junior college national champion at 197 pounds, in 1998 and 1999. His record was 61-0, with 33 falls. After Colby, Cormier transferred to Division I wrestling powerhouse Oklahoma State University. In 2000, Cormier went 26-5. He entered the national tournament as the #3 seed at 184 pounds, but fell one match short of becoming an all-American (given to the top 8 finishers in each weight class). In 2001 Cormier went 27-5. He became an all-American by reaching the finals of the 184 pound weight class, where he lost to Cael Sanderson 8-4. His final record was 53-10, with 27 falls. 6 of Cormier’s losses were against Cael Sanderson.
After graduating from OSU with a degree in sociology, Cormier went on to have a successful career in Freestyle Wrestling. He was the senior U.S. national champion every year from 2003–2008, and represented team USA at the world level for each of those years. He competed at 96 kg, or 211.6 lbs. At the 2004 Olympics he took 4th place after losing to Khadzhimurat Gatsalovin the semi-finals. Cormier was also a member of the 2008 Olympic wrestling team for the USA, where he was named team captain, but was pulled from competition due to kidney failure, brought on by excessive weight cutting.
In the non-Olympic years, Cormier reached the top 5 at the Wrestling World Championships on two separate occasions, 2003 and 2007. He won a bronze medal at the 2007 competition. Cormier also won a gold medal at the quadrennial Pan American Games in 2003. Another major accomplishment came in 2005, when Cormier became one of a select few Americans to win a gold medal at the Golden Grand-Prix Ivan Yarygin, held in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and considered by many to be the most challenging wrestling tournament in the world.
Cormier also competed and represented the Oklahoma Slam team in the now defunct Real Pro Wrestling league. He was crowned a champion in its first and only season in 2004, for the 211 lb weight class. While he competed in Real Pro Wrestling, he was also teammates with fellow Strikeforce mixed martial arts competitor Muhammed Lawal, who also was a season 1 champion, in the 184 lb weight class.
Mixed martial arts career
After the 2008 Olympics, Cormier decided to pursue a career in mixed martial arts, in the Heavyweight division. He trained with Cain Velasquez, Jon Fitch, and Josh Koscheck at American Kickboxing Academy. It helped him improve as a striker and submission wrestler.
After making his professional debut in September 2009, Cormier traveled to Australia and fought for Xtreme MMA. He defeated Lucas Browne to win the XMMA Heavyweight Championship on July 31, 2010. Two weeks later Cormier won his second MMA title by winning the KOTC Heavyweight Championship from Tony Johnson. He landed a solid punch on Johnson in the first round, causing his larger opponent to shoot in, but Cormier quickly gained the advantage with superior wrestling and grappling and won the fight via rear-naked choke.
Cormier signed an eight-fight deal with the Strikeforce organization and debuted at Strikeforce Challengers: Kennedy vs. Cummings, defeating Gary Frazier by TKO.
Cormier fought at the event Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs. Mahe on March 26, 2010, in Fresno, California, where he defeated John Devine by KO.
Shortly thereafter, Cormier fought Strikeforce: Houston event on August 21, 2010, defeating Jason Riley via submission (punches) at 1:02 into the fight.
Cormier next fought Devin Cole at the Strikeforce Challengers: Woodley vs. Saffiedine event on January 7, 2011, in Nashville, Tennessee. He won via unanimous decision, the first time a fight of his had gone the distance.
Cormier was scheduled to face Shane del Rosario at Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum on June 18, 2011, in Dallas, Texas, but his opponent was involved in a car accident and withdrew from the bout. Cormier instead faced Jeff Monson and won via decision. Cormier used his striking to dominate Monson on the feet and did not allow for any takedowns, negating Monson’s submission ability.
Despite Cormier’s reservations about competing in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix due to inexperience, height and reach disadvantage over the rest of the field, he nonetheless entered, and faced Antônio Silva on only five weeks’ notice on September 10, 2011, at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov, replacing Alistair Overeem. In a shocking upset, he won the fight via KO (punches) in the first round, catching Silva with multiple hits to the jaw, causing him to collapse, and then finishing with two hammer blows to the face of the grounded Silva before the referee could stop the fight. Cormier later revealed that he had broken his hand during the fight.
He faced fellow finalist Josh Barnett on May 19, 2012, at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier. Cormier dominated the five round fight, becoming the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion by unanimous decision (49–46, 50–45, and 50–45). It was discovered that Cormier, once again, had broken his right hand during his bout with Barnett, and he underwent hand surgery.
Daniel Cormier was rumored to face former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia in his return to Zuffa and Strikeforce debut, but on July 21, UFC President Dana White said, “No. Tim Sylvia is not with Zuffa”.
Cormier was scheduled to fight former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir on November 3, 2012, at Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir. However, on September 19 it was revealed that Mir was forced to pull out of the bout due to an injury.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Cormier made his promotional debut against Frank Mir on April 20, 2013, at UFC on Fox 7. He won the fight via unanimous decision. Due to Cain Velasquez, Cormier’s teammate, being the current UFC Heavyweight Champion, Cormier considered moving down to the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division. Some writers expressed doubt in his ability to cut down to the 205 limit safely, citing the fact that Cormier had suffered kidney failure during his time as an Olympic wrestler when trying to make 211 lbs. After failing to compete at the Olympics, he gained 40 lbs.
In his second UFC fight, Cormier faced Roy Nelson on October 19, 2013, at UFC 166. He won the fight via unanimous decision. Prior to the bout, he announced that win or lose, he would be moving down to the Light Heavyweight division. Cormier weighed in for the bout more than 20 pounds lighter than previous contests, at 224 pounds.
Cormier was expected to face Rashad Evans at UFC 170 on February 22, 2014, in his first fight at Light Heavyweight. However, a leg injury knocked Evans off the card ten days before the event, and he was replaced by newcomer Patrick Cummins. Cormier won the fight via TKO in the first round.
Cormier was briefly linked to a bout with Rafael Cavalcante on July 5, 2014, at UFC 175. However, it was announced that Cormier would instead be fighting Dan Henderson on May 24, 2014, at UFC 173. After dominating the fight with his wrestling and top game, he won via technical submission in the third round.
Cormier vs. Jones
Cormier was expected to face UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones at UFC 178 on September 27, 2014, after Alexander Gustafsson was forced to withdraw due to a torn meniscus. However, on August 12, Jones, citing an injury, was forced to pull out of the bout. The fight eventually took place at UFC 182. At UFC 182 Cormier was defeated by Jon Jones via unanimous decision. Both fighters were awarded a Fight of the Night bonus.
Light Heavyweight Champion
Cormier was expected to face Ryan Bader on June 6, 2015, at UFC Fight Night 68. However, on April 28, 2015, it was announced that Jon Jones had been stripped of the Light Heavyweight championship and suspended indefinitely after facing felony charges stemming from a traffic accident in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Subsequently, Cormier was pulled from the Bader fight and replaced Jones against Anthony Johnson on May 23, 2015, at UFC 187 for the vacant title. In the early opening seconds of the fight, Cormier was dropped by an overhand right by Johnson. Cormier would go on to win the next two rounds and eventually submit Johnson by rear naked choke in the third round to become the new UFC Light Heavyweight champion. The last time the championship had changed hands was in 2011. The fight also earned Cormier a Performance of the Night bonus.
Cormier faced Alexander Gustafsson on October 3, 2015, at UFC 192. Cormier won the back and forth fight via split decision (47–48, 48–47, and 49–46). Their performance earned both participants Fight of the Night honors.
In November 2015, Cormier stated that he has signed a new, eight-fight contract with UFC.
A rematch with Jon Jones was expected to take place on April 23, 2016, at UFC 197. However, Cormier pulled out of the fight on April 1 citing a foot injury and was replaced by Ovince Saint Preux. The rematch with Jones was rescheduled for July 9, 2016, at UFC 200. On July 6, it was announced that the fight between Jones and Cormier was off due to a potential doping violation from Jon Jones. Cormier fought former UFC Middleweight ChampionAnderson Silva in a 3-round non-title fight at the event. Cormier won the fight via unanimous decision.
A rematch with Anthony Johnson was expected to take place on December 10, 2016, at UFC 206. However, on November 25, 2016, Cormier withdrew from the bout due to injury. The pairing was rescheduled again for April 8, 2017, at UFC 210. At the weigh-in for the fight, Cormier was 1.2 pounds over the 205 pound limit for a Light Heavyweight championship fight: he was allowed a second weigh-in and came in at the 205 limit. During the fight, Anthony Johnson surprisingly adopted a grappling-based approach, and Cormier was able to retain his title with a submission victory in the second round.
Jon Jones rematch & controversy
The rematch with Jon Jones took place on July 29, 2017, at UFC 214 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Jones defeated Cormier, recapturing the Light Heavyweight Championship via knockout in the third round, after a head kick and a barrage of strikes on the ground.
In the post-fight interview, a tearful and emotional Cormier showed disappointment of the defeat and said “I guess if he wins both fights there is no rivalry.” Commentator Joe Rogan issued an apology on Twitter to Cormier after the fight for interviewing him when Cormier could not gather his thoughts due to the knock out he suffered in the fight.
On August 22, it was announced that Jones was flagged for a potential doping violation by USADA stemming from his test sample that was collected after weigh-ins July 28. He tested positive for Oral Turinabol, an anabolic steroid. Jones was placed on a provisional suspension as a result of the positive drug test and is expected to be afforded a full adjudication process. On September 13, USADA confirmed that the “B” sample of Jones’ tested positive for Turinabol. As a result, the CSAC officially changed the bout result to a no contest and the Light Heavyweight Championship was returned to Cormier. On September 18, Cormier, in an interview with TMZ, said he is open to a third fight with Jon Jones after Jones’s suspension is served.
Resumed title reign
Cormier faced Volkan Oezdemir on January 20, 2018, at UFC 220. He defeated Oezdemir in the 2nd round after dominating Oezdemir throughout the match. This win earned him the Performance of the Night bonus.
Cormier faced Stipe Miocic for the UFC Heavyweight Championship on July 7, 2018, at UFC 226. He won the fight via knockout in the first round, thus becoming one of only three fighters to have held two UFC championships simultaneously and the only one to defend at least one of his belts. This fight earned him the Performance of the Night award. Provoked by Cormier after his victory, Brock Lesnar emerged from the audience and came into the octagon to accept the challenge by the new champion.
On October 9, the UFC officially announced that Cormier would be making the first defense of his Heavyweight championship against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230. Cormier successfully defended the Heavyweight belt against Lewis via rear-naked choke in the second round, becoming the first man to submit Lewis in MMA. This makes Cormier the first UFC fighter to win and defend both the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight belts, and the first UFC fighter to be a double champion who successfully defended both belts. A day before UFC 232, Cormier relinquished the Light Heavyweight title – with his focus solely on defending the Heavyweight title – as he said “I’d rather walk away this way, than have the history books say I was stripped”.
Article Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Cormier