UFC heavyweight Daniel Cormier trains with a squad of supremely skilled individuals at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose including UFC on FX 8 headliner Luke Rockhold. Like Cormier, Rockhold came to prominence under the Strikeforce banner, beating 185-pound peers including Tim Kennedy, Keith Jardine, and Ronaldo Souza along the way. However, though he’s been in some big bouts including those with divisional gold on the line, Rockhold has yet to experience the atmosphere of a UFC event let alone one in Brazil against Vitor Belfort. And, as Cormier knows from his recent debut in Octagon, that’s a very real factor Rockhold has to consider leading up to his clash on Saturday night.
Cormier spoke to The MMA Hour this week where he provided some insight on the advice he’d offered Rockhold pertaining to his bout with Belfort, saying, “I told him to expect everything to be a little different. The nerves and everything surrounding the fight is going to get to you more than the actual fight.”
“It’s everything that happens outside the cage that affects you. And it may affect you a little bit when you step in there because you use so much energy on media obligations, the intensity of the weigh-ins, the crowd and everything, and all this other stuff, it gets into your mind, you’re ultra pumped up, you’re in there warming up way before you should be in there warming up and just wasting this great energy you need for the cage, and … conserve it,” he continued. “Conserve your energy, rein it in, and just be ready to do what you do every time you step inside the cage.”
The unbeaten Cormier fought Frank Mir last month at UFC on FOX 7. While Cormier won the bout, he wasn’t quite as impressive as expected and even he admitted he hadn’t lived up to the hype based on the showing in part due to the very real “Octagon jitters”.