CERRITOS, Calif. — Daniel Cormier has admitted that his weight cuts are never easy. And that last one, before his UFC 210 title defense against Anthony Johnson in April, was the worst yet.
Cormier, the UFC light heavyweight champion, missed weight on the first attempt before that fight, 1.2 pounds over the 205-pound limit. He did make weight less than three minutes later, albeit while leaning on a towel draped around him to cover his body. Cormier went on to beat “Rumble” Johnson by second-round TKO, but the discussion coming out of the week in Buffalo had more to do with the weight struggles and “Towelgate.”
“DC” fans don’t have to worry about any of that this week, per Cormier’s nutritionist Tyler Minton of FitnessVT. Cormier is 215 pounds as of Wednesday night and still completely hydrated.
“He’s really lean right now,” said Minton, who works with MMA nutrition gurus George Lockhart and Daniel Lieth. “He really is. He’s got abs showing. He’s a lean guy right now. He looks amazing. Daniel Cormier has a lot of muscle mass — he’s a muscular dude. He’s a stud athlete. You remove mixed martial arts, he’s just an athlete.”
Cormier’s last fight was just three months ago and Minton said he didn’t get overweight in between then and now. Part of the reason for that was the California State Athletic Commission’s (CSAC) crackdown on extreme weight cutting. But more than anything it’s because Jon Jones is the opponent at UFC 214 on Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif., Minton said.
“DC admitted he probably didn’t take Rumble as seriously as he’s taking Jon Jones,” Minton said. “So there might have been those opportunities where he didn’t have to be as serious and he kind of took them. But this time, he eats, sleeps and breathes beating Jon Jones. The opportunity to succeed every chance he gets is there. It’s easier to not grab that snack when I’m not looking when Jon Jones is waiting for you.
“I think that knowing that your arch-nemesis is who you have to face, I think that gives you a motivation that nothing else can give you.”
Under the new CSAC rules, Cormier had to be cleared by a doctor to compete at 205 pounds for this fight and had to be in a target range for 30- and 10-day weight checks. Cormier passed all those tests, per CSAC. And Minton said it wasn’t even necessarily that difficult.
“We hit the numbers we needed to hit for the 30-day out,” Minton said. “We hit those just through diet. We didn’t have to do anything crazy. So yeah, he started a bit lighter and it’s made the whole camp easy. Because instead of focusing on cutting weight for six weeks, we fed him like an athlete. I tell people all the time, you don’t feed a supermodel and an athlete the same way. We’ve been able to feed him like a 205-pound world champion.”
With Cormier’s weight already down to a manageable number, Minton said the American Kickboxing Academy product could focus on his training, rather than trying to shed pounds. He expects that to mean a lean, peak-condition Cormier for Saturday night at Honda Center.
“I haven’t had to feed him like a supermodel,” Minton said. “I’ve fed him for the job of kicking butt.”