Daniel Cormier: I wasn’t that hurt by the knockdown, I was more off balance

The dream of Daniel Cormier becoming a UFC champion became a reality on Saturday night in Las Vegas as he submitted Anthony Johnson in the third round to win the vacant UFC light heavyweight title.UFC 187

Cormier (16-1) had to weather a very early storm as Johnson landed a right hand that dropped him. The knockdown marked the first time Cormier had been put down in his career, but he was able to quickly recover.

While he knows it will go down as a knockdown, Cormier stated on the UFC 187 Post Fight Show on Fox Sports 1 that it was more of a situation that he was off balance.

“I’m pretty nervous. The guy hits hard. Then I thought, oh my goodness, he hit me hard,” Cormier explained. “Once I was able to secure him and land some punches on the ground, I felt better. I wasn’t that hurt by the knockdown, I was more off balance.”

“Wow, I can’t believe I just got dropped, I never got dropped before,” he continued. “Not only is does this dude punch hard, he’s fast. The first round, our plan was to take him down, then grab his head if he tried to get back up, and make him carry my weight and wear him down. He had to carry my weight the whole time. In the second round, I landed a really good elbow and he looked like he didn’t want to come back out in the third.”

Obviously, no one wants to get dropped in a fight and every fighter tries to look at the positives when something negative happens. The positive aspect of this for Cormier is that he felt it actually gave him an advantage in the fight.

“We knew he was going to press us, so when he landed the first big punch, it might have backfired on him because it gave him more confidence to try and throw more and then I was able to do some timing and duck under a punch and take him down.”

Cormier dominated Johnson in the second round and appeared to come close to a kimura submission. Johnson was able to survive that submission attempt, but he would not survive the rear-naked choke in the next round.

“I was thinking I could get the kimura. Anthony was so strong, I couldn’t get it finished. In the third round, he was so tired, and I heard his corner saying ‘Don’t quit’ and when you hear that, you’re very confident.”

Winning the UFC title has been a goal of Cormier’s since he decided to become a mixed martial artist. He can not control what is going on with former champion Jon Jones, but no one can take away the fact that he will go down in the record book as a UFC champion.

“If I want to walk about today, I know I can. I can tell my son I accomplished everything I wanted to. I won the Strikeforce Championship and now I’m the UFC Champion. It’s hard not to cry and to try to keep it together.”