If you ever doubted Daniel Cormier was born to do MMA, consider this. He had a 101-9 record as a high school wrestler. Then he spent several years competing in college, World Championship and Olympic competitions. He lived wresting, breathed wrestling, and probably wrote about wrestling in his Oklahoma State University dream journal.
But despite grabbing and holding dozens of guys a year for an entire decade, he still had an instinct to punch. In this 2005 Super Cup wrestling match against Shamil Gitinov, Cormier throws back-to-back uppercuts at his opponent. They connect with enough power that Shamil has to lay down for a while to recover.
Years later, we know that Cormier would eventually translate that punching reflex into a dominant career in MMA. Fightland analyzer Jack Slack has praised Daniel’s ability to compliment his wrestling base with technical striking.
“Cormier’s striking leads me to believe he must be a dream to coach,” he says. “Where many MMA fighters seem to train technical in their camp then swing wild and predictable in the ring, Cormier looks in the cage like he would on the pads.”
Cormier is visibly upset at the end of the Super Cup match. He points angrily at Gitinov and raises his own hand against the objection of the referee. Perhaps the Dagestanian had it coming.