Daniel Cormier hasn’t been very active on social media since his rematch against Jon Jones at UFC 214, and understandably so considering how messy that situation has become, however the two-time Olympian made an exception last weekend when UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor took on undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather in a blockbuster clash between the world’s two biggest combat sports.
McGregor ultimately lost to Mayweather, faltering via 10th round standing TKO, but the Irishman still did better in his professional boxing debut than many observers expected, holding his own in the early going and even winning three rounds on one judge’s scorecard. And Cormier says the satisfaction he felt watching McGregor represent MMA in a positive way on the world’s stage was the reason he wanted to send out the words of praise he did towards McGregor on Twitter.
“When I was watching Conor fight, I felt a sense of, like, pride. I was actually proud of him,” Cormier said Monday on The MMA Hour. “I mean, it doesn’t matter that I’m proud of him. It just felt like, because I think I didn’t expect him to do as well as he did, and when I watched him out there and I watched him look good in there, I watched him hold himself high and give a good account of himself, I was like, man, look at him, look at how professional — he didn’t just chase money, he went out there to try to win a fight against the greatest boxer, I think, of all-time.
“He went out there and he looked the part, he carried himself well in the promotion, the build-up, after the fight. In the fight, he fought well.”
McGregor took the early advantage on Mayweather, leading the dance in the beginning rounds of the much-anticipated contest while Mayweather stayed patient and played defense, figuring McGregor out before coming alive in the middle rounds and ultimately securing his first stoppage win since 2011. With the victory, Mayweather pushed his perfect record to 50-0 to eclipse that of Rocky Marciano’s and cement “Money” as one of the greatest fighters of his generation.
“He won, and it was clear what he was doing,” Cormier said of Mayweather. “He was trying to let Conor punch himself out and then get the finish.”
But that being said, Cormier believes McGregor still did more than enough to prove the doubters wrong and show that MMA athletes are capable pugilists in their own right.
“I was very proud of [McGregor]. He went out there and he represented himself and the UFC and every other guy with a great deal of class and dignity and he did a fantastic job,” Cormier said. “So I felt like, as a guy who’s been in the sport for a long time, a guy who, every time I’m in contact with Conor, it’s only respect and he’s such a respectful guy, I wanted him to, if he got [my message] — I know his coach pays quite a bit of attention, John Kavanagh — to see that we are very proud of him as a mixed martial arts community. Because he has nothing to hold his head down about.
“He fought the greatest boxer of all-time and won rounds. I mean, when Brendan Schaub put that bet up that he would win rounds, I was like ‘I’ll take the bet.’ Man, I would’ve lost a lot of money to Brendan Schaub, because Conor won some rounds. He won some rounds and he did a fantastic job, man. We’re all proud of him. We’re all very proud of what he did out there on Saturday.”