When Daniel Cormier first walked onto a stage opposite Jon Jones and felt a wave of negativity from the fans in attendance, it clearly affected him.
At the time, Cormier couldn’t understand why people rejected him in favor of Jones, who has been mired in all sorts of legal issues over the past few years including a hit-and-run accident as well as a drunk driving incident.
While it was certainly a tough pill to swallow, Cormier has learned that the only bad reaction is when there’s no reaction at all so as much as he saw himself as a fan favorite, he’s finally embracing his status as the ultimate heel.
In fact, Cormier went as far as comparing himself to WWE superstar Roman Reigns, who has been painted as a babyface (a good guy in professional wrestling terminology) for years yet the crowds are unrelenting with boos whenever he steps into a ring to perform.
“I was watching WWE WrestleMania last weekend and I said wow it would be great if Roman Reigns pins the Undertaker clean. It’s how the old school guys do business. Monday night, Reigns walked out to the ring and they booed him for 10 minutes, would not allow him to talk but it was the most organic crowd that they’ve had in a really long time. He said ‘this is my yard’ and he left. It was perfect because they were playing the game for him. That’s me,” Cormier explained at the UFC 210 post fight press conference.
“If I’m in the Octagon and I’m berating Jimi Manuwa and Jon Jones, it’s my Octagon. I’m the one in there fighting right now with that gold belt. So you’re going to sit there and you’re going to take it. I insisted they didn’t put a microphone by either one of them. Sit there with the camera in your face and just take it. Because I’m the one out there laying it on the line. They don’t like it, it’s fine.”
Cormier is a huge professional wrestling fans so it’s no wonder he enjoyed the reaction Reigns received last Monday night when he stood virtually silent in the ring while fans in Orlando absolutely erupted with boos throughout the opening of “Raw”.
Of course in a perfect world, Cormier would certainly enjoy being beloved by the audience, but he’s learned to accept his role and if that’s being the bad guy then he’s happy to get everybody riled up with what he says after winning yet another title defense.
“Initially, I was taken back a little bit by people booing me, but then I realized, anyone that knows me and anyone that has spent any time with me, they don’t feel that way. They don’t want to boo me. They don’t feel they want to be away from me. They enjoy the time that we spend together and those are the people that matter. If people want to boo, that’s fine, just don’t not care,” Cormier explained. “That’s all I care about. Just don’t be indifferent. As long as you care, I am fine.
“So when they’re booing in there, it’s fine. It just bounces off me.”