With a win in his final heavyweight fight, what's next for Daniel Cormier? UFC President Dana White said a meeting with recent light-heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson is possible.
Cormier (13-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), who cruised to a shutout decision victory over Roy Nelson (19-9 MMA, 6-5 UFC) in Saturday's UFC 166 pay-per-view co-headliner, announced ahead of time that he'd drop to light heavyweight after the bout. Cormier is making the cut to avoid a likely collision with heavyweight champ and American Kickboxing Academy teammate Cain Velasquez, who knocked out Junior Dos Santos in UFC 166's headliner.
Cormier, a two-time Olympian, turned pro in 2009 and has already defeated the likes of Antonio Silva, Josh Barnett and Frank Mir. White, though, said "DC's" challenges will be no easier at light heavyweight.
"At 205, I don't know. I don't how he's going to fit into 205," White said. "The 205-pound division has been one of the, if not the, nastiest division in the UFC forever. Guys are faster. A lot of guys are taller in that division. It's just not an easy division to cut down to."
White has previously said Cormier could get an immediate title shot if he made the drop, but with champion Jon Jones (19-1 MMA, 13-1 UFC) already slated to fight Glover Teixeira (22-2 MMA, 5-0 UFC) in March or April, Cormier is going to need to look elsewhere for a challenge.
When asked if Gustafsson (15-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC), who lost a narrow split decision to Jones this past month at UFC 165, is a possible opponent, White's eyebrows raised, and he slowly nodded his head.
"Yeah," he said matter of factly.
That potential bout, likely to be a title eliminator, would pit Cormier's dominant wrestling and improved standup game against Gustafsson's proven striking abilities and shored-up takedown defense. It'll also crown a very clear No. 1 contender for after the Jones-Teixeira title fight.
And though White believes Cormier has his work cut out for him at light heavyweight, where Jones has ruled an increasingly competitive group of contenders, he believes the 34-year-old is entering the division with real momentum.
"I thought Cormier looked a million percent better than in the fight he had against Frank Mir," White said. "He wrestled [Nelson]. He beat him standing up. He was kicking more than Roy, who just standing there getting lit up."