"They called me yesterday and asked me to give a quote to USA TODAY announcing the fight would be headed to Oklahoma. Man, I just about lost it. That's really pretty cool," Cormier on Tuesday told MMAjunkie.com Radio (MMAjunkie.com Radio | MMAjunkie.com
"Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir" will take place Nov. 3 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City with a main card airing on Showtime and prelims on Showtime Extreme, a date and location reported Monday by MMAjunkie.com and USA TODAY.
Cormier gets to headline another Strikeforce card. He gets to face another high-caliber opponent in Mir, who will move over from the UFC for a one-time-only special attraction before Strikeforce closes the door on its heavyweight division. He gets the security of knowing he'll be moving to the UFC, himself, after the fight. And to top it off, he gets to do it all in front of a friendly crowd just 45 minutes from where he was an All-American.
Cormier has come a long way, and he's done so quickly. He's also wise enough to know it and appreciate it. After all, as Cormier put it, borrowing from his manager, when he started out in Strikeforce on the promotion's Challengers Series, he was fighting "on the undercard of the undercard."
Cormier, who in May beat Josh Barnett to win the heavyweight grand prix crown, has all his attention focused on Mir – even if he still has to pinch himself that all this success is happening so fast.
"It doesn't mean this isn't a little more than what I would've expected, to fight someone like Frank Mir in my 10th fight," Cormier said. "He's a great warrior and a great finisher. I don't think there's a guy in the division, outside Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez, who are better finishers in the heavyweight division. He gets a hold of someone and goes for it 110 percent.
"People talk about Frank's a great submission guy and a great jiu-jitsu guy, but the respect from me comes from him being a great finisher in the heavyweight division."
Cormier is excited for the big venue. He's excited for what is certain to be a favorable crowd in his adopted second home state. He's excited for the chance to really put himself on the map against a heavyweight icon like Mir.
And he swears he isn't looking past the former champ when he thinks about UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. But he does think about him.
Cormier, an American Kickboxing Academy product, is just a little bit biased. But he thinks Velasquez, his AKA teammate, is going to beat Dos Santos on Dec. 29 to win back the UFC heavyweight title. And if that proves to be the case, well, what's Cormier to do? It's widely known that he'll slide over to the UFC after he faces Mir. And a win in November could have him quickly into the title mix. But as has proven to be the case with many teams, especially at AKA, Cormier doesn't want much part of fighting a teammate.
The solution? Well, he could just drop right down to light heavyweight – into Jones' turf. He can't get behind Jones' recent decision to turn down a fight with Chael Sonnen, which led to the cancellation of UFC 151. Cormier says he'd have done things differently, has proven so in the past, and so have other fighters – they've fought in less-than-ideal situations for the greater good.
"That's (Jones') decision to make. We all think differently," Cormier said. "But obviously my view on that situation is different. When I fought Jeff Monson, I was supposed to fight Shane del Rosario. … Even Cain's fight with Junior (at UFC on FOX 1) – they were both so hurt, they probably should've pulled out of the fight, both of them. But they didn't – they put it all on the line. Could you imagine the first FOX card and Cain or Junior pulling out? It would've been a complete disaster."
So if Velasquez gets the heavyweight belt and Cormier beats Mir and doesn't want to think about a showtime with his teammate, 205 could be calling – which Cormier hasn't been at in more than 10 years.
Still, one scenario, he thinks, could work out just right – him vs. Jones as coaches on Season 17 of "The Ultimate Fighter," with a fight for the title afterward.
"I have talked openly about fighting Jon Jones becauseI expect Cain to get his hand raised on Dec. 29," he said. "If I go down (to light heavyweight), I need some time to get down to a comfortable weight. I haven't been to 205 since 2001. If I do it the correct way, it's possible. If things fall in line, then that's what needs to happen. Throw me and Jones on (TUF) next year, and it would get more casual fans to get to know me. It would give me seven-eight months to get the weight off, and it would be awesome. That's not my place, but if there's a way for Dana (White) to hear this, I think it's a grand idea."
But even if he has Jon Jones somewhere in a daydream in the back of his mind, he tries to remain vigilant about the task at hand.
"I have a big fight with Frank. Frank's going to test me in ways most guys haven't," Cormier said. "My focus is on that. My short-term goal is get through this fight healthy, and get in the UFC at the beginning of the year."