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UFC legend Daniel Cormier talks about the fight that inspired him as a teenager

Daniel Cormier is a bona fide combat sports legend
Daniel Cormier is a bona fide combat sports legend
Johny Payne
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 11 Nov 2020, 04:33 IST
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In conversation with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier revealed which fight inspired him as a teenager.

MMA legend Daniel Cormier asserted that it was the iconic heavyweight battle between George Foreman and Michael Moorer that truly inspired him and would go on to play a huge role in his life.

George Foreman, one of the greatest professional boxers and combat sports athletes of all time, holds the record of being the oldest man to win a heavyweight world championship in professional boxing. It was ‘Big George’ beat Michael Moorer via 10th-round KO on November 5th, 1994, to win the WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles.

Foreman was 45 years and 299 days old at the time of his aforementioned title win, and, to this day, he’s the oldest fighter to win a world heavyweight title in the sport of professional boxing.

In addition to this, George Foreman is also the second-oldest professional boxer in any weight class to win a world title in the sport.

The oldest professional boxer to do so was fellow boxing legend Bernard Hopkins, who won world titles in the light heavyweight division at the age of 46, and then broke his own record by winning world titles at light heavyweight at the age of 48 and 49 respectively.

Daniel Cormier narrates how the George Foreman vs. Michael Moorer fight inspired him

Speaking to Ariel Helwani, Daniel Cormier recalled his younger days as a student at Northside High School. Cormier then spoke about the George Foreman vs. Michael Moorer fight and stated –

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“Oh, man. I was at Northside High School in Lafayette, Louisiana. You know, like I said: I’m just a kid from the north side of Lafayette. We’re at Northside High School, I’m in shop class. Anytime my teacher did movie days, he would show this fight (George Foreman vs. Michael Moorer). He was a massive George Foreman fan, and all the kids would fall asleep. Everybody would put their head down on the desk and they would go to bed. I would watch that fight, Ariel, every single time.”
“And in that day, I’d started wrestling before; I was like, ‘man, I’ve got to be doing something combative’. So, for me, combat was wrestling. But I knew that it could push me forward to do something in that realm because I wanted to do, and be, and have those moments like George Foreman. Obviously, I thought it would be an Olympic championship for something like overcoming the odds.”
“But I remember watching, and I watched George get beat up by Michael Moorer for a long time. And I watched George kind of be a little bit slower. He did not look like himself. His pants were really high up. Notice (how) I always wear my pants really high up? His pants were really high up when he was fighting.”
“And George is waiting, waiting, waiting, and then boom, boom! It was like in slow motion, Michael Moorer goes down, George Foreman is now the oldest heavyweight champion in the history of boxing – something that will…it won’t happen again. I mean Bernard Hopkins won a title as he got older, (but) he (George Foreman) beat the best boxer in the world on that night. Michael Moorer was the heavyweight champion. And it was something that stuck with me so much, man. I watched that fight every time. (In) my freshman year, I may have watched that fight seven times in that class. Any time my teacher decided it was a movie day, he showed the George Foreman vs. Michael Moorer fight. And I didn’t know why.”
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In response to Ariel Helwani asking who the teacher is, Daniel Cormier revealed that he can’t remember the teacher’s name. Daniel Cormier added –

“Listen, there was a reason he showed us that (fight). He showed us that to show you that you could do anything. And I believe that’s what we learned in that fight.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)

Furthermore, Daniel Cormier explained that he eventually had the honor of making George Foreman’s acquaintance and training at the George Foreman Youth Center in Houston, Texas. Cormier also indicated that Foreman is an amazing individual.

Moreover, Helwani suggested that Daniel Cormier could perhaps return to MMA at the age of 45/46 to pay homage to his childhood hero George Foreman. Daniel Cormier responded by jesting that he might return at that age, but only if Stipe Miocic is still the champion since DC wouldn’t want to fight the younger fighters.

Daniel Cormier presently serves as an analyst and regularly appears on UFC and ESPN programming.

Having retired from the sport after suffering a unanimous decision loss to Stipe Miocic in their trilogy matchup that took place in August of this year, Daniel Cormier has consistently maintained that he intends to stay retired from professional MMA competition.

Published 11 Nov 2020, 04:33 IST
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