UFC president Dana White was handing out heavyweight top contender spots as if they were going out of style over the weekend. In addition to stating Alistair Overeem won’t lose his spot in line despite serving a nine-month testosterone suspension, but not before Cain Velasquez gets next crack at Junior dos Santos’ crown, White also confirmed Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier (Pictured) will be granted an immediate shot at the UFC title once he transitions over to the Octagon.
However, White would prefer for the former Olympic wrestler to drop to the light heavyweight division when he makes his big league debut.
“Yes, [Cormier] will end up coming over to the UFC. The thing is, I’d love to see the guy go down to 205. I think he’s a small heavyweight over here,” White expressed at the UFC 146 post-fight press conference.
“I respect Josh Barnett, he did work Barnett. Barnett fights like once a year, I’m not taking anything away from Barnett, but it’s a whole other ballgame over here.”
Cormier has stated in the past that shedding the pounds required to compete at light heavyweight would be difficult given the kidney problems that prevented him from competing in the 2008 Olympics. That’s why White is merely suggesting the move and not forcing it.
However, first things first for Cormier. He is expected to undergo surgery after re-injuring the right hand that was fractured last September. The 33-year-old will then have to win his final fight for Strikeforce to solidify his spot on the UFC’s heavyweight totem pole.
Once that happens, the title appears to be his for the taking.
“If he comes over and wants to fight for the heavyweight championship, yes,” White said when asked if Cormier would immediately challenge for the UFC strap.
Just in case you were wondering, if Velasquez happens to have reclaimed his belt when Cormier transfers over, the American Kickboxing Academy teammates have already stated they will not square off.