Cormier and Atlas hype UFC fighter as ‘next level’ evolution of MMA

Daniel Cormier is hyping up a UFC contender.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 3 months ago

Featherweight contender Ilia Topuria extended his undefeated streak over the weekend with an impressive unanimous decision win over veteran Josh Emmett at UFC Jacksonville. Thanks to the victory, the 26-year-old Georgian-Spanish fighter jumped four spots to number five in the current 145-pound rankings. But he’s getting talked about like he’s ready to make a much bigger jump, all the way to the top.

Teddy Atlas compares Topuria’s boxing to Volkanovski

There’s no reason to believe that the champ Alexander Volkanovski is looking past his UFC 290 opponent Yair Rodriguez, but he has been talking about Topuria a little bit. The champ went on DC & RC with Daniel Cormier and Ryan Clark and said his piece.

“I’m hearing a lot of people mentioning other guys, Ilia fighting other guys. I’m like, ‘No.” Volkanovski said. “Don’t do it. Just give me a guy. Give me a contender.”

Volkanovski isn’t the only one. Legendary boxing trainer Teddy Atlas compared the boxing style of Topuria to the champ himself on his Fight Show.

“Topuria, he reminds me with his striking a little of Volkanovski, where he’s so solid technically, he’s so buttoned-up with his approach, his overall approach, that it just reminded me of him a little bit.”

Cormier campaigns for Ilia Topuria’s UFC title shot

Many were left further impressed with Ilia Topruia after Saturday’s win. So much so that Cormier campaigned for “El Matador” as the next title contender. 

“I’m OK with him going right into a title fight,” Cormier told Megan Olivi for ESPN (quotes by MMA Junkie). 

“I think he is that ready. This kid showed conditioning over 25 minutes, he showed an ability to compete everywhere, and he really did just dominate. I think that he matches up relatively well against all of them. 

“The technical fight between him and Yair (Rodriguez) would be crazy, but then also to watch him fight the champion, (Alexander) Volkanovski, with their skill sets – fantastic fights across the board at 145.”

Cormier says the only slight misstep Ilia Topura made was failing to attend fighter meetings because he was cutting weight. But everything else, ‘DC’ says, is done right. 

“You can’t judge him harshly in anything that he did over the course of the first main event week that he’s ever had. He’s calm. He’s collected. 

“His demeanor outside of the octagon translates so well inside the octagon. He’s at the high guard, he’s in there, he sets everything up – he wastes nothing. 

This dude is just – he really is next-level and he is the evolution of mixed martial arts.”

What Ilia Topuria wants next

If you ask the man himself, Ilia Topuria only wants a top-tier opponent. He understandably wants his title shot, but he’s also willing to wait his turn and fight another big name in the division. 

“I’m the next guy in the line. I can wait,” he said during Saturday’s post-fight scrum. “One of the best skills I have is patience. If they offer me to fight Max Holloway in Spain — let’s do it. If not, I’m gonna wait for my title shot. That’s all.”

As for a potential bout against reigning champion Alexander Volkanovski, Topuria says location won’t be an issue. 

“If I think I’m the best in the world, I can beat him in Australia, in Las Vegas, in Miami, in Spain, wherever we go, I beat him. Location is no problem,” he said on Monday’s MMA Hour episode.

“Right now, I’m really focused on getting that championship belt. I want to get that title fight, which I know that I deserve.  

Topuria likewise feels that he solidified his title contender status when he finished Bryce Mitchell and dealt him his first-ever career loss last December. 

“That’s the most realistic situation for me. There is nothing else for me. I showed to everyone — even before this with Bryce Mitchell — in this division no one can match my level of skill inside the cage. Nobody can, no one. No one.

“So what else is there for me in this division but to fight for the title? If someone can stop me and someone’s thinking they’re the champ, no one else can do it.”

After his win over Emmett, Ilia Topuria’s record improved to 14-0. He also took home a $50K bonus for Fight of the Night.

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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