Cormier: It’s inside of Gustafsson to look for a way out
On the eve of his first title defense at UFC light heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier is supremely confident about how he matches up with Alexander Gustafsson, going as far as saying the top contender will look for a way out at some point during their fight.
Cormier has been brutally honest when addressing Gustafsson in the lead-up to their main event bout on Saturday night. That only continued when he spoke to FOX Sports on Thursday just hours away from his first weigh-in as champion.
Cormier believes the book on Gustafsson has already been written — he’s a competitive fighter at 205 pounds who will feast on anyone who allows him time to settle into a comfort zone and unleash the weapons he uses best. But push him and bend him over five rounds and Cormier is positive Gustafsson will break.
"You’ll see it Saturday," Cormier teased. "If he finds his comfort zone early, he’ll be tough as hell. But when he realizes that he can’t find his comfort zone and I’m going to keep drowning him and drowning him, he’ll be tough early. He’ll be popping his head up out of the water but I’ll constantly just be pushing him right back underneath.
"Eventually, he will accept the fact that it will not stop and he’ll find a door."
Cormier promises this isn’t just trash talk to hype a fight because he has plenty of evidence to back up his claims that Gustafsson will look for a way out when he’s in trouble.
No matter what Gustafsson has done to prepare for this fight, Cormier knows that the will to quit is just something that’s living inside of him and at some point on Saturday night it will be unleashed.
"I said this the other day — when (Anthony) ‘Rumble’ (Johnson) was pummeling Alex, he could have rolled to his back, tried to pull guard, do something to hold him, to stop that. He just accepted it. Phil Davis locked on that D’arce choke, there were five seconds left in that round and he tapped," Cormier said. "That’s inside of him. I’ll go find it."
Cormier believes he can win this fight wherever it goes and that includes standing toe-to-toe with Gustafsson on the feet. In fact, Cormier is quite sure Gustafsson will display great takedown defense in the opening minutes of their fight.
Only after the fight starts to progress and the minutes begin ticking away will Gustafsson’s ability to stuff Cormier’s takedowns fade and then he’ll get planted on his back in the center of the Octagon.
"He’ll defend them early. Most guys do," Cormier said about his takedowns. "Most guys defend them early cause they’re fresh. But as I said, I will continue to pressure him, I will continue to drag him under the water and eventually he will start to give up those takedowns and he will start to realize he’s in over his head."
Cormier even heard that Gustafsson paid special attention to his wrestling ahead of the fight at UFC 192, but if he was training with the best of the best from his home country of Sweden, he would have been better off not bothering at all.
"Did he bring in Swedish wrestlers? Were they Swedish Olympians? Because every time I got to a wrestling competition where I was wrestling a Swedish guy, I was preparing for the next guy. That’s a bye," Cormier said.
"A Swedish Olympian is a bye in the Olympic games. Just know that. If they’re Swedish Olympians, I’m not too worried about it. He starts bringing in some Russians then I’d be like ‘OK he’s getting some good wrestling.’"
From the sound of things, Cormier is ready to beat Gustafsson anywhere and everywhere and put on a dominant performance to defend his title on Saturday night.