Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson carry different types of confidence into UFC 187
Heading into the light heavyweight title fight in the main event of UFC 187, this Saturday, Anthony "Rumble" Johnson has won nine straight fights. Six of those wins, including his last one over Alexander Gustafsson in January, were by violent KO or TKO.
Johnson’s late replacement opponent for the vacant 205-pound UFC title, this Saturday in Las Vegas will be former Olympic wrestler and UFC title challenger Daniel Cormier. Cormier gives credit to Johnson for his impressive streak over the past three years plus, but he also promises to bring something different to the table than any of AJ’s recent opponents did.
"Anthony has done a great job. But Anthony has been on cruise control throughout these nine fights where he’s looked amazing," he says on the Countdown to UFC 187 (above).
"I’m going to deal this guy some adversity, and make him fight where he’s uncomfortable. Let’s see how he does in those situations."
Cormier still knows that in order to beat the dangerous Johnson, he’ll have to be at his best. What, exactly, will it take for DC to come away with a win and the world title?
"A complete effort," he admits.
"Reliance on myself, reliance on my team. Belief. We all have to walk to the Octagon that it’s our time and this opportunity was presented to us for a reason. We have to take advantage of it. A complete effort. I cannot beat ‘Rumble’ Johnson if I’m not 100 percent. And, I do intend to be at 100 percent on May 23."
For his part, Johnson actually believes that Cormier is a tougher match up for him than his originally scheduled opponent — stripped former champion Jon Jones. "Jones just has different tools, and of course, a different style," he begins.
"Cormier is a grinder. I actualy think he’s tougher than Jon, as far as styles, for me. But I’ll make sure, you know that May 23 is not a tough fight."
Discussing the title fight with Blackzilian teammates and his manager Glenn Robinson, recently, Johnson expressed confidence that his striking power will make the difference for him. Cormier has heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez as his training partner for this fight, but Johnson is unimpressed.
"See, I’m expecting a dog fight, but I don’t think he’s been hit hard as I can hit," Johnson said, in front of the UFC Embedded (below) cameras.
"I don’t care if he trains with Cain [Velasquez]. So what? Cain isn’t me. He doesn’t punch like I punch, he doesn’t move like I move. It’s two different styles of fighting."
For his part, Cormier explains that punching power isn’t the end-all, be-all, in a fight. The American Kickboxing Academy team captain knows that Johnson has dynamite in his strikes, but believes that he himself brings a whole lot more into the fight.
"There’s more to fighting than just hitting hard," he concluded, on episode one of Embedded.
"Just because you hit hard doesn’t mean you’re going to win a fight. If having power meant you’d win every single time, there are fighters in the world who never would have lost. Mike Tyson always had power. But, then eventually Evander Holyfield beat him. Lennox Lewis beat him. They didn’t hit as hard as Mike Tyson, but they beat him. I’m glad he has confidence in his power but just being able to punch hard isn’t going to be enough. He’s going to have to be able to do so much more if he plans on getting his hand raised."