Daniel "DC" Cormier was slated to face his rival, Jon Jones, at UFC 197 in a couple of weeks, but due to a severe leg injury, he was forced to pull out of the fight last week.
The nature of the injury however, was left vague in the UFC's initial announcement. All fans were told was that it had something to do with Cormier's leg.
In a recent interview with Fox Sports 1 though, Cormier opened up about his injury, and the decision not to fight at UFC 197:
I'm sparring and I kick one of my training partners, inside leg kick, and he checked it, which is what he's supposed to do. We're training to be the best in the world so he checked the kick and I fell down and was like 'that was a rough one'. Because we kick and check kicks all the time. That's normal.
When it happened, I fell and was like that really hurt.
Unfortunately, once he tested his leg out, Cormier could immediately tell something was wrong.
So I stomped my foot down a couple of times to try and wake it up, because normally it feels like a Charlie horse, like a knot. So I stomped my foot down a couple of times to try and wake the thing back up and then I was like I'll go back to sparring. So I was sparring with this one kid and he's so small and we first started and he put his foot on my shin, not even a kick really, just a little bit of a front kick to my shin and I fell down again and I was like 'I think I'm done'. It's too painful.
Cormier went in thinking that he might have broken his leg, but once the MRI came back, it was discovered that it was much worse than that:
We got the MRI back on Thursday and they said I had torn the ligament that kind of makes the two bones in my leg work, on the outside of my shin. So I told the UFC and I just wanted to wait to give it a few days because my leg was still stable.
Unfortunately, the extra time didn't seem to help:
I went and tried to practice and I had no movement laterally. I couldn't grapple, can't run, can't wrestle, can't kick, so it started looking day by day that this was probably not going to be a good decision to go in there with this limited amount of movement and the ability to train was very limited in what I could do.
DC wasn't willing to let the injury get in the way of his fight with Jones and it took his manager and trainer, Bob Cook, to inform the UFC that he was injured. It was unlikely, with the severity of the injury, that DC would recover in time for UFC 197.
No one was more disappointed than DC himself:
I've been scheduled to make that walk 18 times and I had made it every, single time. So even the thought of not fighting was rough on me where as my coaches were like 'we pretty much know what's going to happen.'
The top brass of the UFC were quick to respond:
On Friday, I get a text from Lorenzo (Fertitta) saying give me a call when you get the chance. So I call him and he says 'hey DC it's me and Dana (White)' and they said Bob (Cook) had texted them without me knowing just to tell them 'hey it's not looking good, it's going to take a miracle for him to be OK by Monday'. Because I was asking them for today to make a decision. They asked 'how do you feel?' and I said I'm very limited in what I can do but I'm holding out hope because I've always made the walk, I've always been there.
It was UFC President, Dana White, who had to be the voice of reason:
Right in that conversation, something very surprising happened. Dana said 'DC you can take until Monday, but you're hurt. The doctor said that you need five or six weeks to heal so even if you sat on your ass for the next three weeks, you will still need two weeks. You're the champion, you don't have to do this, we know this is hard for you but you worked a long hard time to get to where you are and we don't want to put you in a situation where you're fighting and you're not 100-percent healthy.'
In the end, DC knew that him not showing up would hurt the event and he was surprised that White and Fertitta were, not only understanding, but insistent that he takes the time required to heal properly:
That's amazing that those guys were telling me that because if there's one guy who wants you to fight it's them but they said they didn't want to put me in that situation.
In the end though, it was the UFC that had to decide for DC, regardless of his pleas:
I begged and I said 'can I please have until Monday?' and they were like 'there's not going to be any difference on Monday, DC, we can't let you fight at not 100-percent, especially with everything that's at stake for you guys so we need to start looking at different options because if you're injured, you're injured' and they made the decision for me.
DC hopes that he's not down for very long. He had a procedure earlier this week that could help his injured shin heal faster, meaning he can get back in the octagon sooner. Obviously, to take down Jones:
I'd like to fight as soon as possible.
Nobody wants to fight against Jon Jones more than I do. I don't think there's a guy in the world that wants to fight him as much as I want to fight him. So I'd like to do it as soon as possible. I'm not only going to try to heal fast but I seek out anyway to make it better.
Cormier is ready for Jones, regardless of the injury and will prove that once he gets back to 100%:
UFC 197 will take place on April 23 where Jones will fight OSP in an interim title fight.