Daniel Cormier speaks out on Phil Hawes incident at UFC Austin
Hawes took on Cormier’s protegee Deron Winn at UFC Austin over the weekend, picking up the win with a second-round TKO.
After the fight, during the post-fight interview, which Cormier conducted as he was working commentary for the event, a tense moment was caught between the pair on camera.
The pair exchanged some heated words before Cormier began the interview, but things seemed to smooth over quickly, and the interview continued on without issue.
Speaking on his podcast recently, Cormier explained his side of the story, and what happened that led to that tense moment. “DC” explained that he initially wasn’t a fan of the wrestler vs. wrestler matchup in Winn vs. Hawes, preferring his protegee seek out a different opponent.
However, just because Cormier wasn’t a fan of the matchup, doesn’t mean he makes the fight. Hawes was talking after the fight as if Cormier picked him for Winn to fight, but quickly figured out that wasn’t the case, leading to things getting smoothed over nicely.
In the aftermath of the fight, Hawes offered his apology to Cormier and now ‘DC’ is telling his side of the story.
“Fight ends, I get up to go do the interview,” Cormier said. “As soon as the fight’s over, I press the cough button, drop my head set, and I walk towards the ring, and I can hear Phil yelling at [commentators Dominick Cruz and Brendan Fitzgerald], ‘Where’s DC? Where’s DC?’ while I was walking into the octagon. I step into the octagon and Phil is doing something that we call in Louisiana, ‘Booting up.’ This dude’s booting up on me. Phil’s like this, ‘What’s up, man? What’s up?’ And I was like, what is going on? He’s booting up on me. So I’m like, ‘Me?’ to Phil. And Phil’s kind of telling me that I picked the wrong opponent. Well, if you want to know where that stems from, here it is. I’ll tell you exactly what it stems from.
“When I was in Abu Dhabi, before [when] Phil was managed by this guy named Daniel Rubenstein, he asked me to sit with Phil at Fight Island. Phil and I sat with his advisor, a guy that he’s very close to and we talked and we spoke and then we talked about Phil coming out to AKA to train with me. What happened next was the UFC called and asked for Deron Winn to fight Phil Hawes.”
“I said ‘no’ to the fight,” Cormier said. “I didn’t think it was a great fight. And, obviously look at what played out. So, it’s not like I was wrong in my thought in regards to the matchup. So Phil is saying I picked the wrong opponent. So I say to Phil, ‘Do you think I pick fights? Like, do you think I make the fights?’ I go, ‘Phil, that’s ridiculous. I don’t make the fights, my friend. Be respectful. Be respectful.’
“Phil being the great guy that he is, he immediately gets it, right? Phil’s not a bad guy, that’s what people don’t understand. I hold no ill will towards Phil Hawes for last weekend. He’s high on adrenaline, he had the best performance of his entire career. He feels like King Kong!
“He feels like King Kong, he feels great out there, he’s hyped up, he’s got this idea — probably something that has motivated him throughout the entire camp — to go and put me in my place, because I picked him as Deron’s opponent. The reality is I didn’t do that. I didn’t necessarily want the fight. But it is what it is man.”
Cormier confirmed that Hawes apologized via text message and that the opportunity to train together is still available.
“I have nothing but respect for him and if he fights in the manner that he fought on Saturday, this kid has all the potential in the world to be a world champion,” Cormier said. “That is how good I believe Phil Hawes is. I think he can be world champ if he fights like he did last weekend. He’s that good.”
The only thing Cormier seems to be glad about is how he and Hawes were able to get their quarrel under control without any further repercussions after they had their run-in. It is his hope that Hawes will learn from this experience in the same way he has gained insight from various encounters throughout his combat sports career.