As much as Daniel Cormier has achieved in his own fight career, the former two-division UFC champion rarely misses an opportunity to pay homage to his close friend and teammate Cain Velasquez for helping him every step of the way.
In fact when Cormier first came to the UFC, he opted to move down to light heavyweight in order to avoid any potential conflict with Velasquez, who was already a two-time UFC heavyweight champion by the time they were on the same roster together.
On Friday, Velasquez announced his retirement from mixed martial arts in order to focus on a new career in professional wrestling after inking a multi-year deal with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Velasquez will kick off his in-ring performances by going up against Brock Lesnar, who he defeated inside the Octagon back in 2010 to win his first UFC heavyweight championship.
Cormier, who is a huge professional wrestling fan in his own right, issued a statement to MMA Fighting on Friday following the news that Velasquez would be hanging up his gloves in order to focus on his future in WWE.
“It’s a sad day when Cain Velasquez retires. But I know that he is doing something that he loves,” Cormier said. “I remember watching him at [WWE] Elimination Chamber and you can see that this was something that he could love, I am not sure he ever fell for something faster, well except for when he met [his wife] Michelle.
“I’m very happy for Cain and Michelle and the kids. But the biggest winner in this whole deal is the WWE Universe, they are in for a treat watching Cain perform. I’m excited to see the program between him and Brock. Congratulations to my brother. Exciting times.”
Ironically, Cormier was actually supposed to face Lesnar after he won the heavyweight title last July with a first-round knockout against Stipe Miocic.
As much as Lesnar flirted with the possibility of returning to mixed martial arts, the 42-year-old crossover star ultimately decided to sign a new long term deal with WWE and informed the UFC that he would remain retired with no plans to fight again.
Now Velasquez will climb into the squared circle with Lesnar at the upcoming WWE “Crown Jewel” card in Saudi Arabia on Oct. 31.
As for Cormier, he has said he only has one fight left in his own career with a planned trilogy against Miocic expected in 2020 after he fell to the Ohio native back in August.