Daniel Cormier has one simple message for all those that degrade wrestlers in MMA: deal with it.
Cormier, who has an upcoming semifinal round match in the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix scheduled for September 10 against Antonio Silva, doesn’t feel like he owes anybody anything when it comes to taking an opponent down and keeping them there.
“It’s not my job, it’s not Jon Fitch’s job, it’s not Josh Barnett’s job to actually team someone takedown defense,” Cormier said during a media call Tuesday for Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov. “It’s their job to learn takedown defense. If they can’t defend the takedown, then they deserve to lay on their back for 15 minutes.”
Cormier (8-0) was a late replacement into the tournament, taking the spot of current Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem after Overeem was forced out due to injury.
The former Olympic wrestler is working on becoming more than just a grappler. After taking Devin Cole down three times in January during a win, Cormier attempted just two takedown against Jeff Monson in June, instead out striking Monson 110-19 on his way to a victory – his fifth in Strikeforce.
“I think it’s always good to put on exciting fights,” Cormier said. “I like to fight. This is my job. If that means I have to stand with him and fight, then I have to fight. What if I can’t take him down? But at the end of the day, it’s about winning.”
Cormier makes a good point when comparing how wrestlers are treated differently around the MMA community than jiu-jitsu fighters or strikers.
“Why should I or anyone else that knows how to wrestle give up their biggest advantage?” Cormier said. “If a jiu-jitsu guy can get you down, he’s going to use his jiu-jitsu. If a striker can keep you standing, he’s going to use his standup ability. It’s your job, which MMA is, which fighting is, to learn all areas of the game.”
Cormier and Silva (16-2) are one-half of the Strikeforce grand prix, as Josh Barnett and Sergei Kharitonov meet in the main event of the night. The two winners are slated to square off in early 2012.