If Daniel Cormier wanted to poke the bear, he seems to have succeeded. Ahead of Cormier's UFC 166 heavyweight contest against Roy Nelson, the former Olympian plans to file a request to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) to force Nelson to clean up his wild facial hair.
The subject of Nelson's beard has long been a point of contention for UFC President Dana White, and since Cormier announced his intentions, Nelson hasn't appeared pleased at the thought of shaving it.
"Roy and I have been going back and forth," Cormier told MMAFighting.com.
"(He's been) kinda messing with me up top and in my head and everything, so there's something there with that beard. He only had it for a reason. He likes having it, so why not make him shave it, and take that comfort zone away from him?"
Cormier, who hopes to use his bout with Nelson as a springboard into light heavyweight title contention, has stated previously that Nelson's shaggy facial hair offers an unfair in advantage during fights, and he stands by that assertion.
"It's kind of tactical," Cormier acknowledged, before joking, "And also I thought those guys (who were forced to shave at UFC 165) in Canada looked nice, man. Everybody is nice and clean, and like professional athletes."
Regardless of any perceived advantages Cormier intends to stifle by cleaning up his bearded opponent, it's clear that one of his main goals is to get under Nelson's skin. And in that, he may already be successful.
"Everybody is always entitled to their opinion," Nelson curtly responded when asked about the situation. "Talk to Dana."