Light heavyweight contender, Daniel Cormier has said that he didn't want to fight Dan Henderson this weekend but will do to cement his place in the rankings.
Speaking ahead of this weekend's UFC 173, Cormier told USA Today that facing off against Henderson wasn't initially in his plans and that he doesn't like fighting one of his idols.
“I would much rather not fight Dan Henderson. He’s a guy that I’ve looked up to for a long time.
“Dan is the first guy I can go into the cage with and say this guy’s done everything that I've done, and he’s actually done things at a much higher level than I have.”
Cormier knew he had to take the fight though because although he has a guaranteed title shot if he waits, he didn't want to take an extended break.
Three months ago the former Olympic wrestler made the drop from heavyweight to light heavyweight with the promise that a title fight would await him... in 2015.
Champion Jon Jones was set to defend against Glover Teixeira, which he successfully did at last month's UFC 172, and then move on to a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson at some point later this year.
With that in mind, Cormier has a long time to wait for his shot and although he could've sat on the sidelines and played it patiently, he wasn't prepared to do that and is now putting his shot on the line with his fight against Henderson this Saturday.
“I've waited a really, really long time,” says Cormier, "I wrestle and I compete to win, and that’s what I plan on doing against Dan."
Whether or not his title shot would pass over to Henderson hasn't been made clear by either party or Dana White but if either party wins, they could be pushed towards another fight or face a 10-11 month layoff, and that's if Jones or Gustafsson don't get seriously injured.
For now though, the focus is Henderson.
“I have a mad amount of respect for [Henderson], and I believe he’s going to push me and make me fight harder than most opponents have ever made me fight." Says Cormier.
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