ByJustin Golightly, writer at
Design wizard. MMA mathematician. Formerly of Middle Easy, Justin Golightly has been featured on Bleacher Report, Uproxx and TMZ.
Justin Golightly

Daniel Cormier is widely regarded as one of the two best Light Heavyweights in the world. The only loss in his entire career is to Jon Jones. While Jones was suspended for a failed drug test, Cormier became the undisputed UFC Light Heavyweight champion. His career at Light Heavyweight has been nearly perfect, but it's easy to forget that Cormier did not start in that division.

One of the things that makes Cormier so impressive, is that he is undefeated at Heavyweight and earned two belts there. In addition, he holds wins over Antônio Silva, Josh Barnett, Frank Mir and Roy Nelson. These victories over top Heavyweights at the time—combined with his Light Heavyweight record and recent win over Anderson Silva—make Cormier the number three, pound-for-pound best fighter in the world

Now join as we compile the five best Daniel Cormier fights in the Heavyweight division.

5. Daniel Cormier v.s. Tony Johnson

Back in the day of HDNet Fights and Full Tilt Poker sponsors, Daniel Cormier made his King of the Cage debut fighting KOTC Heavyweight champion, Tony Johnson.

It took Cormier less than three minutes to choke Johnson into submission, resulting with his first title win. Maybe this was a prophecy of his victory over a future Johnson? Just 14 days earlier, Cormier won the Xtreme MMA Heavyweight title. He now held Heavyweight titles for two organizations in just four fights.

4. Daniel Cormier v.s. Soa Palelei

In his previous four fights, Cormier finished his opponents in the first round. This fight would be no different.

Before his UFC career started, Cormier fought Soa Palelei (a UFC veteran of 1 fight at the time) upon returning to Xtreme MAA. He would dominate Palelei, punish him with ground and pond then shred him up with elbows. Cormier sucessfully defended his XMMA Heavyweight title, and from there, it was time to move on to bigger and better things.

3. Daniel Cormier v.s. Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva

After racking up a couple of wins in Strikeforce, Cormier was unexpectedly rushed to the top of the Heavyweight division to replace Alistair Overeem in the Grand Prix tournament.

On just five week's notice, he was set to face one of the top Heavyweights in the world, Antonio Silva. Fresh off wins over Andrei Arlovski and Fedor Emelianenko, Silva was a completely different class of fighter than the relatively unknown Cormier. None of this seemed to matter to him though, as Cormier shocked the world by knocking Silva out in the first round, breaking his hand in the process.

Daniel Cormier had officially arrived. He was going into the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix and the world was watching.

2. Daniel Cormier v.s. Josh Barnett

Suddenly, Cormier found himself in a fight with Josh Barnett. He was up against one of the top three Heavyweights in the world. He was much lighter, had a reach disadvantage of eight inches and was four inches shorter than his opponent. That didn't stop him.

These two men fought an all-out war. Kicks, knees, clinching, dirty boxing, haymakers...this fight had it all. Cormier was even able to pull off one of his famous slams on Barnett. It is one thing to launch a Light Heavyweight in the air, but to do it to a monster like Barnett is special.

After a five round battle, that saw both fighters suffer serious hand breaks, Cormier won a unanimous decision against Barnett to become Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion.

1. Daniel Cormier v.s. Roy Nelson

After winning a decision against Frank Mir in his UFC debut, Cormier's last fight at Heavyweight would be Roy Nelson.

Despite Nelson's grappling prowess, Cormier would take him down multiple times. When he wasn't throwing Nelson to the ground, he was brutalizing him on the feet and wearing the body down with knees. For the second time, Cormier would dominate a top Heavyweight in the UFC.

With the unanimous decision win in the books, Cormier would move down to Light Heavyweight, and the rest, as they so famously say, is history.


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