Matt Mitrione caught the attention of UFC president Dana White in a bad light recently. Mitrione, who is set to return to action later this year vs. Phil De Fries, was asked to step in and face Daniel Cormier.
Mitrione would have been placed in the main event of a Strikeforce card against the undefeated Cormier. However, as White disclosed last year, the former Ultimate Fighter contestant turned down the fight.
Now, Mitrione has decided to break his silence in regards to the decision in an interview with BloodyElbow.com.
“I want to thank Dana White and Joe Silva for even offering that fight. It was an honor to get that call, and I would love to fight Daniel Cormier,” Mitrione said. “But I’m just not ready right now. He has Olympic-level wrestling, and although I have spent a great deal of time working on my wrestling, I don’t feel it would be my best fight back after such a long layoff.”
Mitrione added that “wrestling is, by far, my weakest skill.” Cormier qualified for the Olympics before entering MMA, and has used his ground game – and other MMA skills – to defeat the likes of Josh Barnett and Antonio Silva.
As far as if competing in Strikeforce was an issue for Mitrione, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as he said, “if I thought I was ready for Cormier, I would fight him in Strikeforce or the UFC. Whether this fight was in the UFC or Strikeforce makes no difference to me. I turned down Cormier the fighter, not the fight organization.”
With just over a month to go, Cormier is still without an opponent for his final fight in Strikeforce.