In a recent interview with Submission Radio, however, "Darth Bader" says that all sorts of people are coming up to him lately and telling him how they’ve observed Cormier turning into something of a jerk. "Just randomly people come up and just say his whole demeanour [has changed] and he’s not the guy he used to be," Bader said.
"Not even fighters or anything, just people; your regular Joe kickboxing, you know cardio-kickboxing people that go to the gym."
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Whether or not that’s true, Bader is sticking to the story. The former Arizona State wrestler says that grapplers like he and Cormier didn’t come up getting the type of adulation and fame that the new champion now enjoys.
So, he thinks it’s possible that Cormier is turning away from his common person roots a bit amid all of his UFC success. "We come from a wrestling background where we never got any accolades. You go out there, win nationals or become an All-American, you get a hug from your mom and handshake from your dad and that’s it. And that’s what we’re used to," he explained.
"You go through your life humbly and you go into this whole MMA deal and people want your autograph and you’re like ‘Holy crap. Why do people want my autograph?’ And you respect the fans and just respect yourself and the sport itself. That’s what people love about MMA. They love that there’s no real divas and we’re all accessible, and they can come up and shake your hand and take a picture.
"And 99 percent of the fighters are like that, you know? I just don’t want to see Cormier or any other fighters start taking that diva route. And so like you saw right when he came to the press conference, he goes ‘address me as champ.’ And you know he could be kind of joking around here and there, but you know I’ve been around him, and I can just see it just piling on, piling on, and pretty soon he’s going to be a full-blown diva."
While he doesn’t blame Cormier for moving on past stripped former champion Jon Jones, since the entire division has to until the embattled "Bones" decides his future or has it decided for him, Bader did say that the belt the former Olympian now holds is essentially a consolation prize. "We didn’t get together and cast Jon Jones out because he was dominating or anything like that. You know? He put himself in this position. So we’re just making the best of what we have. What else can we do? We can’t sign a petition saying ‘Hey we want Jon Jones back, because this belt doesn’t feel right’. You know? So we just carry on business as usual, and our main goal is to fight those fights in front of us, win those fights, and the ultimate goal is to have that belt around your waist. So we’re doing what we want, and have been striving to do, since we were wrestling as little kids and what not," he admitted.
"On the other side of that, it does feel like a consolation prize. And same deal if I go in there and beat DC and I have that belt, I still know there’s somebody out there that never really lost the belt. It was kind of taken from him. So you know, until Jon Jones comes back and that belt holder fights him and beats him, then I would say you’re the real champ. But this belt definitely would make you feel like it’s a consolation prize, for sure. If I had it, if DC has it. Anybody, really, in the division."