Daniel Cormier knows what it’s like to become a world champion in less than ideal circumstances.
In 2017, Cormier lost his light heavyweight title to Jon Jones via third-round knockout at UFC 214, but the result was overturned to a no contest after Jones later tested positive for the banned substance turinabol. Jones eventually received a 15-month suspension from the USADA and was stripped of the title, while Cormier was reinstated as the 205-pound champion.
The former two-division champ and current UFC color commentator has been critical of new bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling since he captured the title on Saturday night via disqualification at UFC 259. “D.C.” says he isn’t a fan of Sterling’s social media presence after taking the illegal knee from now former champ Petr Yan which led to the fight being stopped and the title changing hands.
In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Sterling clapped back at those who have been critical, including Cormier, who made made his thoughts known on his ESPN podcast.
“I just saw the one from Ariel Helwani and D.C. talking about I’m parading around and boasting a belt. One, show me one post on my social media where I’m boasting about winning anything or celebrating anything,” Sterling said. “I’m happy my friends came to my house, had about 30-plus people at my house. They were all excited to see me. I didn’t even see the belt because I left it in the octagon. Somehow it showed up at my house, they brought it over while I’m eating chicken, you can see I’m licking my fingers and they’re like ‘open it’ and I’m like I really don’t want to do this.
“Also, there’s about 30 cameras out so they’re all expecting this big reaction from me to be like ‘I’m the champ.’ Yeah they’re like ‘just celebrate it, you earned this, please bro, just enjoy the night, you worked so hard.’ I get all that but I don’t feel like a winner. They’re there, they want to take a picture with me holding the belt. I don’t feel like the champ but if you guys feel this is going to make you guys feel happy or whatever, just know that I’m not posting any of this, I’m not re-posting any of this cause I don’t feel like I did anything.”
On Wednesday, Cormier responded to Sterling’s words on Twitter while offering advice to the new titleholder.
“Young brother, just get off the internet, bro,” Cormier said. “You don’t need to explain, it isn’t helping. We will talk, it’s what we do. You have to just leave it alone!
“Enjoy your time, recover, spend time with your family and just relax. [You] can’t fight every battle.”
. Young brother @funkmasterMMA just get off the internet bro. You don’t need to explain, it isn’t helping. We will talk, it’s what we do. You have to just leave it alone! Enjoy your time, recover, spend time with your family and just relax. Can’t fight every battle https://t.co/kjozYw3Wxy— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) March 10, 2021
The rematch between Sterling and Yan seems imminent, although a time frame has yet to be revealed. It’s what all parties—fans, fighters and Dana White—want, including Sterling who clearly isn’t happy to win the title in the manner he did.
“Do I feel like a champ? No,” Sterling said. “Do I feel I’ve been cheated? I feel I’ve been wrongfully assaulted in a fight against the rules and is that deemed or worthy enough to be deemed a disqualification? I think so but does that make feel like a winner? If I got beat pillar to post and I got handed something does that make me feel like a winner? Absolutely not. I didn’t do anything.
“But the fight was competitive. I was on the losing end coming into that fourth round. I was given the belt via technicalities and that doesn’t do it for me. That doesn’t make me feel like a world champ at all. That belt’s sitting there collecting dust until the day we actually get to fight and make things right. Then from there, we’ll see who really should be the No. 1 guy in this division.”