Daniel Cormier has somehow found himself in the heel role in his rivalry with Jon Jones. For some reason, unknown to most, the fans have gravitated toward the often suspended Jon Jones and boo the active champion, Cormier.
It doesn't matter if Cormier is in the arena as an analyst or a fighter, nor does it matter if it's a press conference or his fight night entrance, crowds love to boo DC.
He's embraced his heel character and put it on full display after his successful UFC 210 title defense over Anthony "Rumble" Johnson.
Cormier compared the fans' reaction to another often booed athlete, WWE's Roman Reigns.
As a fan of pro wrestling, Cormier is no stranger to playing off of the crowd. He said as much during his UFC 210 post-fight press conference.
"I was watching WWE WrestleMania last weekend and I said, 'wow it be great if Roman Reigns pins the Undertaker clean.' That's how 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. It was the most organic crowd they've had in a really long time. He said, 'this is my yard' and left, it was perfect because they are playing the game for him. That's me."
Like Cormier, Reigns doesn't portray a true heel character, but the perception of him being an unworthy champion has made fans turn on him. Some people see Cormier as a "paper champion," given that he's never defeated the divisions' most dominant fighter, Jon Jones. Reigns received boos after being fed opportunity after opportunity in the WWE when many feel others are more skilled and more deserving.
The lack of appreciation for both Cormier and Reigns makes DC's comparison spot on. The two are very similar, but the difference is that Cormier knows the best way to use this reaction is to play into it. That's something the WWE has yet to allow Roman Reigns to embrace.