Daniel Cormier took a break from playing NBA 2K14 and Call of Duty on Thursday to stop by the Bench and discuss his upcoming fight with Dan Henderson. Cormier, 35, will fight, Henderson, 43, at UFC 173 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas this Saturday.
Cormier is undefeated (14-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) and coming off a first-round knockout of Patrick Cummins in February.
“It felt good, man,” Cormier said of the knockout on Ferrall on the Bench. “Nothing feels better than being able to win a fight and then kind of tell a guy, ‘I told you this was not the right approach.’ It felt good. It felt good to actually win the way that I did.”
Cummins, a relative newcomer, was a late fill-in for Rashad Evans, who withdrew from UFC 170 with a leg injury 10 days before the event.
Henderson (30-11 MMA, 7-5 UFC), with a vicious right hand that has knocked out many fighters, will provide a slightly stiffer challenge. Cormier, however, insists he isn’t worried.
“You got to respect (his right hand). That’s his best weapon,” Cormier said. “But to say that I’m worried about it would be a little unfair. I’ve prepared well for him, and I’ve worked hard in every area. So there’s not one certain area (I’m worried about) when it comes to anybody. If I’m scared of anything, it’s just his overall game, I guess.”
With a win, Cormier is expected to receive a title shot against the winner of an expected rematch between champion Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.
Cormier’s strategy against Henderson is simple: get him on his back.
“I’ve got to be able to fight him everywhere, but I’m going to take Dan down,” Cormier said. “I got to make him uncomfortable. If he starts to feel too comfortable in the octagon, that’s when he starts firing off those right hands. When he starts firing them off, eventually one of them finds you – and I can’t run the risk of that. There’s just way too much riding on this fight to be playing with fire with Dan Henderson.”
Although Cormier has a great deal of respect and admiration for Henderson, that won’t stop him from getting where he needs to be mentally this Saturday.
“It’s just business once the cage door shuts,” Cormier said.
The UFC 173 cards also includes bouts between Renan Barao and TJ Dillashaw, Robbie Lawler and Jake Ellenberger, Takeya Mizugaki and Francisco Rivera and Jamie Varner and James Krause.
Cormier is a 10-to-1 favorite against Henderson – odds that he says won’t go to his head. Experience has taught him not to allow that.
“I’ve experienced being the favorite in situations before where I’ve lost in wrestling and everything else,” Cormier said. “Oddsmakers don’t fight. Dan Henderson and I have to fight. I don’t really pay much attention to it. The only reason I know about it now is because guys have told me over the last week. But you can’t count out a guy like Dan Henderson.”