On the night of May 7, UFC 274 took place at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, home of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and the Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers.
Though the night was marked by two championship fights to wrap up the show on pay-per-view (and slightly marred by Charles Oliveira’s controversial weight error at the previous day’s weigh-in), one UFC legend received news that he’d nearly had two waited years to get it.
Daniel Cormier will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on June 30
On June 30, the MMA promotion will hold its 2022 UFC Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and Daniel Cormier, who retired in 2020 after the UFC 252 main event at the UFC Apex vs. Stipe Miocic retired in a trilogy fight, will be one of the contestants in this year’s class.
In announcing Cormier’s induction into the Hall of Fame, the UFC confirmed that he would be a member of its modern wing, the ninth of its kind to be inducted into that wing since the hall was founded 19 years ago.
Joining Daniel Cormier in the modern wing of the UFC Hall of Fame in this year’s class will be Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was announced back in March as part of this year’s roster of inductees.
UFC Hall of Fame parameters for Modern Wing inductees
Since the inauguration of the UFC Hall of Fame on November 21, 2003, seven previous additions to the modern wing have been enshrined, with Daniel Cormier and Khabib Nurmagomedov joining the wing this year.
When establishing the Modern Wing in 2015, the UFC established the following parameters for ex-fighters to be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame through the Modern Wing:
- Modern wingers were required to turn pro on or later than November 17, 2000 at UFC 28: High Stakes. This date is significant in that it was the night of the first UFC event held under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts.
- To be eligible for induction into the UFC Hall of Fame through its modern wing, a fighter must be at least 35 years old at the time of their induction into the Hall of Fame.
- For a UFC fighter to be considered for induction into the UFC Hall of Fame through their modern wing, he or she must be retired from competition for at least one calendar year.
Dana White on Daniel Cormier’s introduction
UFC President Dana White commented on Daniel Cormier’s induction into the Class of 2022 of the UFC Hall of Fame on May 7.
“Daniel Cormier is one of the toughest competitors of all time,” White began. “DC faced the greatest athletes in the world at every level of wrestling and MMA. He’s also the ultimate pro. As an active fighter, he always made time for the media, making him one of the top TV analysts in all of the sport. DC is one of the greatest ambassadors UFC has ever had and it will be an honor to induct him into the UFC Hall of Fame this summer.
Daniel Cormier as a Fighter: The Wrestling Days
After a stint on the Oklahoma State University wrestling team, he turned to freestyle wrestling and competed at the 2003 World Wrestling Championships in New York City at Madison Square Garden, winning that tournament 3-1 and placing fifth occupied.
From there, Cormier wrestled at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece after securing a spot on the United States list, but narrowly missed out on a medal, finishing fourth.
Despite this, DC would win the title at the US Senior National Championships in Las Vegas four years in a row.
After the 2008 US Olympic Trials, Daniel Cormier retired from freestyle wrestling to focus solely on MMA.
Daniel Cormier as a fighter: The UFC is calling
Daniel Cormier’s MMA career began with 11 straight wins, including stints in the defunct Strikeforce promotion and King of the Cage.
Cormier’s last fight under the Strikeforce banner was the last Strikeforce card ever held on January 12, 2013.
That night he stopped Dion Staring with a second round knockout and then called the greatest show in MMA.
Following Strikeforce’s closure and subsequent merger with the UFC, he was signed with the latter promotion after the UFC purchased Strikeforce’s assets, including the videotape library and fighter contracts, with Cormier fighting in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions.
Three months later, Daniel Cormier made his UFC debut, defeating Frank Mir (unanimous decision) after three rounds, followed by a unanimous decision win over Roy Nelson in October in his UFC pay-per-view debut at UFC 166 Light Heavyweight in February 2014 .
At light heavyweight, Cormier faced his greatest rival.
The Rivalry: Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones
On January 3, 2015, Daniel Cormier fought Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship for the first time in UFC 182.
Cormier suffered a unanimous decision loss to Jones, the first loss of his MMA career.
Jon Jones was then disqualified from the UFC light heavyweight championship in April for fleeing a hit-and-run accident and was suspended indefinitely from the UFC.
Daniel Cormier then won the then-vacant 205-lb. Championship against Anthony Johnson (3rd round submission due to rear naked choke) and defended the title twice more
A planned rematch between Jones and Cormier was set for the milestone UFC 200 in July 2016, but the fight never came to fruition after Jon Jones was found to have committed a doping violation and failed a drug test, instead the fight took place in the year 2017
Jones initially won the rematch in UFC 214 (a third-round knockout due to a headbutt and punches), but that result was later commuted to a no-contest by the California State Athletic Commission after Jones returned a positive pre-fight drug test for Turinabol.
After that result was reversed, Dana White returned the UFC light heavyweight championship to Cormier, with DC hanging by the belt, before relinquishing the title of his own accord in December 2018 to focus on his heavyweight efforts after losing the latter championship was secured in November 2018 (second-round resignation due to rear-naked choke) against Derrick Lewis.
Daniel Cormier resigns as world light heavyweight champion
Cormier made the decision to step down as the light heavyweight champion a day before the UFC 232 main event for the strap.
Even if he hadn’t opted to relinquish the belt on his own, he would still have been vacated as Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson were booked to fight to become the new champion and DC said:
“I’d rather walk this path, head held high as always, than have the history books say I’ve been undressed. I defended that title this year. I was approached with the idea of fighting heavyweight, so I took it. I fought three times in 2018. No champion has been more active than me.”
Cormier then fought Miocic twice, losing both fights including his fight for retirement in 2020.
Cormier deserves his place in the Hall of Fame
At its core, Daniel Cormier deserves his place in the UFC Hall of Fame.
If you think about it, this man is in unique company as he was the first competitor in UFC history to defend two-weight division championships and only the second fighter to hold multiple division championships at the same time.
Daniel Cormier was also a fun fighter during his time in the cage and you could always count on him to give a brilliant performance every time he was booked for a fight.
He’s an equally entertaining broadcaster now, and if Joe Rogan ever decides to retire permanently from the commentary table, the UFC could easily field Daniel Cormier as his pay-per-view replacement without missing a beat.
There’s not too much more to say that Daniel Cormier is enshrined in this year’s UFC Hall of Fame class, other than the following:
Featured images are credited to Embed at Getty Images