Thursday marked the tenth year anniversary of Daniel Cormier’s UFC debut. It took place on April 20th 2013 against former champion Frank Mir, and served as the co-main event bout for the card headlined by Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez.
Daniel Cormier’s ‘really boring’ UFC debut
Daniel Cormier rose to prominence in MMA through his wrestling base. As both an NCAA Division I and Olympic freestyle competitor, “DC” rose through the ranks to eventually become the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix winner.
But when he made his Octagon debut against Mir, the UFC analyst admitted to being so worried about losing, that he may have turned it into a contest that wasn’t too pleasing to watch.
“People talk about Octagon jitters,” Cormier told co-host Ryan Clark in their weekly ESPN show. “People talk about ‘can you live up to what the UFC expects?’
“I hugged Frank Mir for 15 minutes. I was so nervous. I didn’t want to lose so bad, that I just clinched him a lot at the time. And it was a really boring fight.”
Daniel Cormier’s performance got roasted by Dana White
Cormier says he knew he put on an unspectacular performance during an interaction with UFC president Dana White when he got back to work as an analyst the following week.
“I was working at FOX at the time,” he recalled. “I remember going to work on Wednesday, and Dana used to come to the show called ‘UFC Tonight’ all the time. He walked up to me, and he goes, ‘Oh, you’re hosting the big show already.’
“I was so excited and so happy, and the person from the show goes, ‘It doesn’t look like he fought, right, Dana?’ And Dana goes, ‘Well he didn’t. All he did was hug the guy for 15 minutes.’”
Cormier’s path to the title and eventual double-champ status
As pointed out by co-host Ryan Clark, Daniel Cormier’s UFC debut, albeit a non-fan-friendly one, became the catalyst for further success in the sport.
After a decision win over TUF alum Roy Nelson six months later, “DC” dropped down to light heavyweight and picked up two consecutive stoppage wins over Patrick Cummins and Dan Henderson before running into Jon Jones at UFC 182 in 2015 to get his first taste of defeat.
Cormier racked up a few more victories to become the undisputed 205-pound champion, then went on to defeat Stipe Miocic to win the heavyweight belt and become the UFC’s second double-champ.
DC retired in 2020 after losing to Miocic in their third fight. He was inducted into the UFC Hall-of-Fame last May.
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