Daniel Cormier's advice for Luke Rockhold: Don't let the 'UFC jitters' get to you

Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Daniel Cormier has a message for his American Kickboxing Academy teammate, Luke Rockhold, who makes his UFC debut Saturday against Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC on FX 8: Don't sweat it.

Last month, Cormier experienced what's known in the business as "the UFC jitters" before his unanimous decision win over Frank Mir in the UFC on FOX 7 co-main event. So, from one teammate to another, Cormier's advice to the final Strikeforce middleweight champion is to treat his first UFC bout as much as any other fight as he possibly can.

"I told him to expect everything to be a little different," Cormier said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "The nerves and everything surrounding the fight is going to get to you more than the actual fight."

Cormier has been around large-scale events his entire athletic life, from big NCAA wrestling meets, to the Olympics, to the much-hyped Strikeforce Grand Prix heavyweight tournament. But in hindsight, Cormier, who's widely considered one of the most straightforward and down-to-earth fighters in the game, admitted he wasn't quite prepared for the intensity of the UFC fight week.

"It's everything that happens outside the cage that affects you," said Cormier, who will not attend the fight, as he has Fuel TV studio duties on the weekend. "And it may affect you a little bit when you step in there because you use so much energy on media obligations, the intensity of the weigh-ins, the crowd and everything, and all this other stuff, it gets into your mind, you're ultra pumped up, you're in there warming up way before you should be in there warming up and just wasting this great energy you need for the cage, and ... conserve it. Conserve your energy, rein it in, and just be ready to do what you do everything you step inside the cage."

Meanwhile, Cormier is still in a bit of limbo as he plots his next move, whether it be another fight at heavyweight, a move to light heavyweight, or a heavyweight bout in which he drops down several pounds on his way to a move to 205.

"My goal is to be a UFC champion, that hasn't happened at 205 right now," said Cormier. "So instead of sitting on the shelf for six or eight months, why not fight, I want to fight. Heavyweight is anything over 206 pounds. Even if I weighed 210 I can fight fight lighter. So if I can fight a heavyweight fight, or if of biggest 205 guys would want to fight up, that's fine too. Whatever."

At one point, Cormier and Roy Nelson were discussed as potential opponents, but that appears to have fallen apart.

"It doesn't have to be Roy," Cormier said. "I don't care one way or another, I only said Roy Nelson because I was led to believe on Twitter that was fight Dana wants to see, so I was like yeah, that sounds pretty good, let's do it. I have no opinion on who I want to fight, it could be Roy I could be anyone else, I don't care who it is. I'm not going to say anyone else's name, because if you say someone else's name, it turns into you called that person out. I never do that. I have no problem with Roy Nelson, I think he's great. So it doesn't matter. I have no opinion, I don't care, just give me someone to fight."

Until then, things remain busy at A.K.A. headquarters in San Jose. Cormier and Josh Thomson were both victorious last month, Rockhold headlines Saturday's card, and the following weekend features Cain Velasquez's title rematch against Antonio Silva.

"It's been a big month and a half for our gym and I hope we can keep it going," Cormier said. "Cain doesn't need motivation, his motivation is being a champion. He knows that he's fighting for his family that he loves more than anything, loves his daughter, loves his wife, his family, wants to support him."

"His motivation is being a champion," Cormier continued. "Some guys, it's extremely hard to get that belt off him because they love everything that goes with being a champion. Jon Jones is that guy. You saw when Vitor was breaking his arm, Jon wasn't going to tap, because everything that goes with a champion means a ton to him. That's how Cain is. ... I don't envision this fight going any different than first fight, I think Cain's going to take him out pretty good. But 'Bigfoot' has put himself in a position where he deserves a title shot."

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