Daniel Cormier grew up in a sport where backing down from a challenge was never the answer.
Cormier, a former U.S. Olympic wrestler and ex-Oklahoma State University standout, was thrown into the spotlight this week after getting into an altercation with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
In the hours following the impromptu brawl, “DC” stated he was just defending himself – and would do it again if the same situation arose.
“I figured he was trying to intimidate me,” said Cormier, during an appearance on UFC Tonight. “He put his head down on my head and nudged me forward, and I pushed him off me.
“If a guy gets in your face and makes contact, I respond. Was it the right thing to do? No. But if he did it again, I’d do the same exact thing.”
Cormier shoved Jones back after the “nudge” and “Bones” retaliated with a swing that sent both men tumbling off the make-shift stage. No one was seriously hurt.
“I believe it is mental warfare,” Cormier said. “If I allowed him to do that to me, he would have gotten a one-up on me and I expected him to do the same thing to me.”
At following media events, the two remained more on an even-keel level, while several video interviews saw them separated entirely.
Regardless of what happens between now and September 27 at UFC 178, Cormier is hoping all the tension produces nothing short of a classic.
“I’m searching for a guy that is the equal to me in the Octagon,” he said. “I want that dogfight. Hopefully, Jon will be that guy.”
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