Cormier, a former Olympic wrestler who made the move to MMA in 2009, was fighting the most experienced opponent he's ever faced in Cole, and Cole became the first of Cormier's seven professional opponents to go the distance with him. But Cormier still dominated the fight and easily won a unanimous decision, 30-27 on all three judges' scorecards.
The good news for Cormier is that his striking appears to have advanced; in the first round he landed a very hard right hand and looked very fluid in his movement when he followed it with a couple of kicks. The bad news is that he was never even close to finishing Cole, a man who's been knocked out twice and submitted three times.
"He did an incredible job -- he fought well, fought hard," Cormier said of Cole. "I'm a little disappointed. ... Better next time."
There's plenty of room for Cormier to get better next time, and this performance was far from spectacular. But if Cormier (who fought five times in 2010) stays busy in 2011, he's going to keep making significant progress -- and showing why so many people in the MMA world think he could be a heavyweight star.