Daniel Cormier believes the added pressure that Ilia Topuria has put on himself could lead to a Conor McGregor-esque breakout moment.
On Feb. 17, Alexander Volkanovski will return to defend his UFC featherweight title for the first time since being knocked out by Islam Makhachev. Volkanovski will meet Topuria inside the Honda Center for the UFC 298 co-main event, with ‘El Matador’ undoubtedly sure he will leave with UFC gold.
Fighters need confidence in themselves to win a world title, but Topuria has taken his belief to a different level. The 27-year-old featherweight contender has done and said many questionable things over the past few months, including changing his social media bios to say he’s a UFC champion.
During a video posted on his YouTube channel, Daniel Cormier has this to say about Topuria’s confidence heading into UFC 298:
“It seems like all [Ilia Topuria] wants to do is put pressure on himself. This dude has now said he’s releasing a movie on becoming the champion of the world, this dude has updated his [social media] bio with another win and he’s now the UFC featherweight champion, this dude has stated he wants to fight in the same stadium where Real Madrid plays football in Spain, this dude has said to anyone that will listen how Alexander Volkanovski can not compete with him. Most people under these circumstances want to release the pressure, not this dude.”
Daniel Cormier compares Ilia Topuria to Conor McGregor before defeating Jose Aldo
In Dec. 2015, Conor McGregor changed his life forever by knocking out the legendary Jose Aldo in thirteen seconds to become the UFC featherweight champion. McGregor showcased a delusional confidence during the fight buildup, which Daniel Cormier compared to Ilia Topuria
Cormier had this to say during the previously mentioned YouTube video:
“[Topuria’s confidence] reminds me of Conor [McGregor] about to fight Jose Aldo. He told you, and he was so sure that he was going to get it done that you knew that if it happened, he would become a star that we’ve never seen in the UFC before or in fighting. So, when it happened, he went to the moon. I feel like Ilia Topuria is setting himself up to have that type of ascent if he can deliver on all of the promises that he is making.”
Ilia Topuria made his UFC debut in Oct. 2020, defeating Youssef Zalal by unanimous decision. Since then, he’s secured five more wins, including four inside the distance, to earn a chance to dethrone Alexander Volkanovski of UFC gold.
Watch Cormier break down Volkanovski vs. Topuria below: