In its own way, Patrick Cummins fight actually helped Daniel Cormier

Esther Lin

LOS ANGELES -- As it turns out, there were benefits to fighting a barista after all.

No, Daniel Cormier's quick TKO win over Patrick Cummins at UFC 170 in February, in and of itself, didn't get him to the next level in his pursuit of a UFC championship.

But the undefeated Cormier was quick to list the ways his experience against the fighter who replaced Rashad Evans on short notice helped him going forward, beginning with the fact that Cummins stepping up enabled Cormier, the former heavyweight, to follow through on his first weight cut down to 205.

"It allowed for me to make the weight," said Cormier, who was in town Monday doing media events to push his UFC 173 co-main event against Dan Henderson on Saturday night. "It allowed for me to get in the cage and fight at 205. I got my first finish inside the Octagon. So there were a lot of positives which came from the fight."

Last time around, Cormier made no secret of the fact he wasn't enjoying his weight cut, in his mid-30s and years after making similar cuts as an amateur wrestler. But four days prior to his weigh-in for the Henderson fight, Cormier reported that -- in part because of his relatively quick turnaround between fights -- the weight cut this time around is going easier than it did last time.

"It's better," Cormier said. "I mean, the first time I was heavy, I was like 235, 236 [to start]. This time I was lighter, I just was working a lot, so I was busy and I just didn't gain as much weight. I didn't really focus on my diet as much, I took a little break.

"Now I have a better understanding of the weight loss, a better idea of how to actually make the weight," Cormier continued. "So I'm doing those things and it makes it a little bit easier. If I am comparing it to last time, I am back on track and maybe even ahead of schedule."

There's no lack of motivation to get on track than what awaits him on Saturday. With a victory over Henderson, Cormier would be in line for a title shot against the winner of the expected rematch between champion Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. Of course, Cormier understands that any number of things can happen between now and then.

"I'd prefer for this to be the fight that gets me a championship fight," Cormier said. "It's against Dan Henderson. If I can finish him, on top of everything else I've done in my career, I mean, I'd prefer not to fight again. But, say Jones loses and gets an immediate rematch, then obviously I would get another fight. It's just circumstances always dictate that stuff. We can say whatever we want. At the end of the day, the circumstances around a situation is what's going to determine whether there's a fight or not anyway. But for me personally, I would prefer not to."

Cormier, meanwhile, expressed disbelief over the current Vegas odds on the fight, which, depending on the sports book, places Cormier at somewhere between a five or six-to-one favorite over the former PRIDE dual-weight-class champion.

The way DC sees it, he was roughly a 3-1 favorite over Evans before Evans had to drop out of the fight, and Evans won a coin flip of a decision over Henderson.

"I look at it like Rashad and Dan are basically equal," Cormier said. "Their fight was a split decision that could have gone either way. If Rashad was 3-1, Hendo should be 3-1. I don't know what the hell people are thinking."

Cormier will have his chance to justify the bettors' faith in him come Saturday night. But for now, he's taking another minute to look back on the Cummins fight. Cormier pointed out that the fight, derided as it was in so many corners, worked out for Cummins too.

"It was not only for my side of things, but his side too," Cormier said of Cummins, who fights again on June 7.  "A lot of positives came from it. He got to fight in a co-main event, some guys never get to do that ever. He got his contract and he also fought one of the best guys in the division. So as he goes backwards, it won't seem like he's going backwards."

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