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Daniel Cormier 'panicked' about weight cut after fight with Anthony Johnson announced

Esther Lin

LOS ANGELES -- Daniel Cormier's first reaction when he found out he was going to get to step in for Jon Jones and meet Anthony Johnson in the main event of UFC 187 was satisfaction.

After all, Cormier had just lost to then-light heavyweight champion Jones in January, so even though DC expected to work his way toward another title shot eventually, he didn't expect a match for the vacant belt to drop into his lap just months later.

But then came a wave of panic.

"I had to believe in my sponsors, my nutrition sponsors, because I was panicking," Cormier said Monday. "I panicked. I didn't want to suck off 10-15 pounds right away and then feel like trash for the rest of my training camp."

As a 36-year-old former heavyweight, Cormier's cut down to 205 pounds needs to be managed more carefully than most. And with the UFC 187 announcement, Cormier, who had just begun training for what he expected would be a June 6 date against Ryan Bader, now had just a six-week camp to shed the pounds.

"You learn from your mistakes," Cormier said. "So I lost to Jones and I had a 14-week training camp. So I was sitting back going, okay maybe I'll do eight weeks. So I started before, we were doing light stuff. We didn't do anything intense. Then when they give me the fight, I was training for three weeks already. So now I have a six-week camp, instead of an eight-week camp, and I'm fine with that."

Ultimately, Cormier said, it was a matter of self-belief, and he says he's on track heading into fight week.

"I have to believe," Cormier said. "My weight hangs around there. If I'm not careful I'll be at 245. I was hanging around like 235, 232. And they were just like 'just relax.' Then one week I just went down to 224, 223, and I'm like 'it's actually happening.' Once you prep your body, the weight starts to come off."

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