Daniel Cormier’s less than a week from defending his title as the UFC’s light heavyweight champion.
He’ll stand as the first man to defend such a title since Jon Jones’ longtime reign ended in April — an ending that came not by the hands of a valiant challenger, but at the hands of the champion himself. Given the circumstances, plenty of fans around the globe have refrained from looking upon Cormier as the true, undisputed champion — especially considering he’s only eight months removed from a title loss to Jones at UFC 182.
But those sentiments aren’t entirely unwarranted, Cormier’s coach Javier Mendes said The MMA Hour Monday.
“No, 100 percent [Cormier] does have something to prove. By doing what I feel he’s going to do to Gustafsson is going to show everybody why he is the best guy right now and why he should be champion, with the exception to Jones being out until he comes back,” Mendes said.
But while conceding to the idea that he’s not 100 percent accepted by the fans just yet, he also feels Cormier isn’t quite getting what is rightfully his.
“He deserves more credit than what he’s getting,” Mendes said. “He’s getting some, but he deserves a lot more. I don’t think anybody can say that he doesn’t.”
As for Cormier’s Oct. 3 title fight in Houston against Alexander Gustafsson — a rare title challenger coming off of a one-sided loss — Mendes isn’t so sure on what to expect. While most believe fighting a competitor only eight months removed from a devastating defeat, Mendes thinks the Swedish fighter could come back a different fighter.
“I’m not so sure, he could come back stronger than ever because of what happened,” Mendes said of Gustafsson’s recent TKO defeat to Anthony Johnson. “I’m not sure, he could come out weaker. I’m expecting a stronger Gustafsson, so I would say it’s not to our advantage to get him at this time because we’ve a stronger guy in front of us, from my view.”