Then there’s this: Cormier will be going from a contender fight with Evans to a bout against someone that the vast majority of fans have never heard of. The former Olympic wrestler is in a situation where he has nothing to gain and everything to lose.
“There’s no way of twisting and turning that,” Cormier said. “There’s nothing positive about losing to Patrick Cummins.”
I did cry. I also was going through a lot of personal things at the time. … It was the year after I dealt with the worst tragedy of my life.
Cormier, 34, was depressed when he heard Evans had to pull out because of a knee injury. He didn’t want to fight his good friend in the first place, but had worked so hard in training and to cut weight to make 205 pounds for the first time. Cormier said he slept for only two hours Wednesday night, waking at 2:30 a.m. to just pace around his home.
On Thursday, Cormier got good news. He’d be fighting Feb. 22 in Las Vegas after all. His new opponent was Cummins, who had been one of Cormier’s training partners when he was vying for an Olympic gold medal a decade ago.
Cormier hasn’t seen Cummins, a promising MMA prospect, for about six years, but he thought the two had remained friendly. That’s no longer the case after Cummins told White that he had made Cormier cry after getting the better of him in training. White relayed that story to the media Thursday during a luncheon in Las Vegas.
“It was very surprising,” Cormier said. “The stuff that happens in the wrestling room is supposed to stay in the wrestling room. There’s a lot of stress with trying to win an Olympic gold medal.”
Cormier said the story wasn’t entirely true. Cummins did get the best of him one day and Cormier was very emotional, but it was a tough time in his life. It was just one year after Cormier’s 2-month-old daughter died tragically in a car accident.
“I did cry,” Cormier said. “I also was going through a lot of personal things at the time. … It was the year after I dealt with the worst tragedy of my life.”
The Cummins he knew, Cormier said, wouldn’t bring something like that up. Cormier said when the two competed against each other in tournaments, he “smashed” Cummins.
That’s what he plans to do again next week. Cormier said Cummins has to exaggerate a story to “make himself real” to the public. Cummins has just four pro fights and they’ve all been wins against a substandard level of competition.
Cormier, the former Strikeforce grand prix champion and 13-0 in MMA, represents a massive step up. And Cummins? He represents a no-win situation.
“If I lose, everything is just jacked up now,” Cormier said. “I can’t lose.”