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Daniel Cormier named new captain of American Kickboxing Academy

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Daniel Cormier can add another item to his ever-growing resume.

The UFC light heavyweight contender was named captain of the American Kickboxing Academy fight team on Monday. Cormier replaces veteran Jon Fitch, who, according to co-head coach Bob Cook, recently moved to Las Vegas.

"Throughout my entire life, I've always been a captain," Cormier said. "I was the captain of my high school team. I was the captain at Oklahoma State University. I was the captain of the 2008 Olympic team. So this is normal for me.

"I'm honored to be one of the guys that is seen as a leader of this great team -- a team that has stood the test of time. AKA is one of the only teams that has been around since the beginning of the MMA explosion, and it's a huge honor for me to be named captain."

According to Cormier, who joined AKA in 2009, it came down to a vote between him and one other teammate.

"The moment of the vote was very tense because it was down to me and Luke Rockhold," he said. "But at the end of the day, I won in a landslide. His time will come. He's a lot younger than I am. This is a great opportunity for me to show the younger guys, in my gym how we want to be viewed as a fight team."

Cook, on the other hand, had a different take on how the voting process went.

"The truth is, [Daniel] was the only one with his hand raised," Cook said.

"That role fits him, though. He's gained a lot of respect and is a big personality."

Cook said Fitch, who was unavailable for comment, had been AKA captain for "at least five years." Fitch is still a member of the extended AKA family, he's just not training at the gym in San Jose, Calif. at the moment because he recently moved to Las Vegas. In addition to Cormier and Rockhold, AKA is currently home to UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, Josh Thomson, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Mike Swick, Mike Kyle, Noad Lahat, and many others.

"He was the only logical choice," AKA co-head coach and founder Javier Mendez said. "DC is hands down a team player and better as a team captain. Every sport he does he always becomes the team leader and everybody recognizes him as such."

The undefeated Cormier, who also works as a FOX Sports analyst, is scheduled to fight Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 182 on Jan. 3.

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