Daniel Cormier dedicates his world title to family who supported him in leaner times

Saturday night was an emotional one for the new UFC light heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier. He was flattened by a punch in the first round of UFC 187’s main event by Anthony Johnson, but got back up, came from behind and submitted "Rumble."

Then, Cormier went from jubilant to taunting when he called out stripped former champion Jon Jones in his post-fight interview. At the post-fight news conference, Cormier also called out and insulted contender Ryan Bader – who was in attendance – and then the two nearly got into a fight, before being separated.

Mostly, however, Cormier seemed giddy and grateful at having finally achieved the world’s top spot. The former Olympic wrestler has long chased greatness, but the road was long and hard.

The father revealed a little bit more about just how hard his road was, mentally and financially, just a few short years ago. Cormier may be a world champion with major corporate sponsors, as well as a television analyst these days, but back when he was making his transition from wrestling to MMA, the fighter and his fiancee didn’t know where their next meal was going to come from.

"We had nothing," he remembered.

"Salina and I had nothing. She’s been with me since I had one fight. One time, we had our son, young baby. I was in Strikeforce, and I would barely fight. Salina and I had a 700-square foot apartment in San Jose, California – one bedroom – and we had no money."

The Lafayette native reached out to his kin back home in Louisiana – who themselves had very little money at all – and their kindness bailed him and his growing and struggling young family out. At the moment of his greatest professional accomplishment, remembering his lowest points gave an emotional Cormier perspective and added appreciation.

"My family has no money down in Louisiana. And I was so desperate because we had no gas. We had nothing," he recounted.

"We were on welfare. We called my parents, and they don’t have much. But my mom, my dad, my brothers and my sister – they pulled together whatever they had and they had $575, and they sent it to Salina and I. And, it allowed us to actually get through the month until my next sponsorship check from Cage Fighter came."

Because his family stood by him during lean times, for Cormier, his world title achievement is not his alone. "It’s great to give this championship to my parents and my fiancee," he explained.

"Because now, we’re fine. We’re fine."