Born In: Lafayette, Louisiana, United States
Daniel Cormier is a retired American mixed martial artist best known as the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion. Born and raised in Louisiana, Daniel initially became interested in professional wrestling at the age of 10. Later, he took up training for the same and participated in a number of junior championships while in high school, where he won three Louisiana State Championships, among many other titles. Post his graduation from college, he embarked on a career as a freestyle wrestler, and he later participated in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games for the USA. In freestyle wrestling, he won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Championship and a King of the Cage Heavyweight Championship. At the UFC, he held a heavyweight championship and a light heavyweight championship, thus becoming the second fighter in the UFC history to hold two major titles in two weight classes simultaneously. During his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, he has participated in a total of 26 fights and has a fight record of 22 wins and 3 losses. Out of the wins, 10 were via straight knockouts. He retired from pro wrestling in 2020.
Also Known As: Daniel Ryan Cormier
Spouse/Ex-: Salina Deleon (m. 2017)
father: Joseph Cormier
mother: Audrey Cormier
siblings: Felicia Cormier, Ferral Cormier, Joseph Cormier
children: Daniel Cormier II, Kaedyn Cormier, Luna Rose Cormier, Marquita Kalani Cormier
Born Country: United States
U.S. State: Louisiana
education: Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, Northside High School, Colby Community College
Daniel Cormier was born Daniel Ryan Cormier, on March 20, 1979, in Lafayette, Louisiana, to Joseph and Audrey Cormier. He grew up as the third of four children in the family. Shortly after he was born, his parents divorced, and he started living with his mother. Later, his mother remarried, and his stepfather adopted Daniel.
Cormier has been a fan of pro wrestling since he was 10 years old. During his childhood days, he used to stay hooked to the television, watching MMA games. Once he got into a fight with his cousin when he was 11 years old. A high school wrestling coach who observed this fight advised Cormier to direct his aggression into wrestling and also offered to train him.
Daniel’s early life was full of tragic events. He had his first encounter with tragedy at the age of seven when his biological father was murdered by a close relative. The second was the death of his high school best friend in a car accident. A year later, one of his close cousins also passed away in a similar incident. In 2003, Cormier’s infant daughter died in a tragic car accident.
Daniel became severely depressed, but he resorted to wrestling as a way to cope with this emotional trauma. He kept himself frantically busy by practicing intensely in order to avoid grief. He studied in the Northside High School and was one of the most popular student-athletes of his school.
While at high school, he began participating in wrestling tournaments. His younger brother Ferral was also a wrestler. Daniel’s performance in the initial few competitions was far from perfect when compared with that of his brother. However, he did not give up; instead, he worked harder until he eventually succeeded.
While he was in high school, he won three Louisiana State Championships. He also won many local and national junior pro wrestling tournaments.
His final wrestling record upon high school graduation stood at 101-9, which was beyond excellence. Twice he was named the most outstanding wrestler in the Louisiana State Championships. He also participated in the world championship of the Greco-Roman Wrestling in the age category of 15 to 16 years and won a bronze medal.
In addition, he was an exceptional football player. Following his high school graduation, he was offered admission on a football scholarship at the Louisiana State University, but he declined the offer as he wanted to focus on wrestling. He instead moved to Kansas, where he attended Colby Community College.
He was a two-time national college champion in the 197 pounds division, in 1998 and 1999. At college, his record was an unbeatable 61-0. In 2000, he transferred to Oklahoma State University, where he graduated with a degree in sociology. He competed in the 184-pound division All-American championship but lost the title by one fight. In 2001, however, he became an All-American by reaching the finals, even though he lost his last fight.
Following his graduation from OSU, Daniel started his professional wrestling career. At first, he went on to have a career in freestyle wrestling and became the freestyle wrestling national champion in 2003. He successfully defended his title in the following years, until 2008. He also wrestled for the USA in international events.
In the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, he represented his country. At the 2004 Olympics, he narrowly missed winning a medal and was the fourth-ranked wrestler in the semifinals. In the 2008 games, where he was also the team captain, he dropped out midway through the competitions owing to kidney failure.
At the 2003 Pan American Games, he won a gold medal for his country, and at the 2007 Wrestling World Championships, he was a bronze medalist. His biggest claim to fame in those years was winning the gold medal at the Golden Grand-Prix Ivan Yarygin held in Russia in 2005. It was considered to be one of the most difficult wrestling competitions in the world, and winning a gold medal there was a real crowning achievement for Daniel. Soon, he was counted among the best freestyle wrestlers in the world.
In the 2004 Real Pro Wrestling competition, he won the gold medal.
Following the diagnosis of kidney failure after the 2008 Olympics, Daniel was on rest for a few months. During that period, he decided to compete in MMA. He trained hard and made his professional MMA debut in September 2009.
In July 2010, he had his big breakthrough when he won the XMMA Heavyweight Championship. A couple of weeks later, he secured another title to his name by defeating Tony Johnson to win the KOTC Heavyweight Championship.
In the same year, Daniel signed a deal with Strikeforce, an American MMA organization. He participated in many Strikeforce tournaments. Against all the odds, he won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Championship after defeating Josh Barnett in the final.
Daniel joined the UFC in 2013 and made his ring debut in April 2013 against Frank Mir and won the fight. Daniel was advised that he had a better chance in the UFC in the light heavyweight division. He was instructed to cut weight by his coaches.
Daniel was first scheduled to fight a UFC title match with the light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in September 2014. But the match was postponed until January 2015. At the UFC 182, Daniel faced Jon for the championship and lost. However, the fight was a huge success, and both the fighters were awarded the Fight of the Night bonus.
Jon was stripped of his championship in 2015 on charges of felony, and subsequently in May 2015, Daniel faced Anthony Johnson for the vacant title. Daniel won the championship and was awarded the Fight of the Night bonus.
In an October 2015 fight, he successfully defended his light heavyweight championship against Alexander Gustafsson. He later had a rematch with Anthony Johnson, where he once again defended his title.
On July 2017, Daniel was defeated in a rematch against Jon at UFC 214, and Jon recaptured the light heavyweight championship. However, on August 2017, it was announced that Jon failed a drug test, which was conducted before the match, when he tested positive for a steroid in his “B” sample. Subsequently, UFC decided to return the light heavyweight championship to Daniel.
At the UFC 226, which took place on July 2018, Daniel faced Stipe Miocic for the UFC heavyweight championship and won the fight through a knockout in the first round. Thus, he became the second fighter ever to have the light heavyweight and the heavyweight UFC titles at the same time. He also won the Performance of the Night honor.
After defending both the titles successfully several times, also becoming the first UFC fighter to do so, he relinquished his light heavyweight championship to solely focus on defending the heavyweight championship. In August 2019, however, Daniel lost the title to Stipe Miocic at the UFC 241.
In August 2020, Daniel officially announced his retirement from the sport after losing the title match against Miocic for the second time in a row.
Daniel Cormier has remained mostly secretive about his personal life. In 2002, he was married to a woman named Robin, but their marriage broke up. In 2003, he married Carolyn Flowers, a former track athlete at OSU. They had a daughter named Kaedyn, who died in a car accident at the age of three months.
In the late 2000s, he got engaged to his girlfriend Salina Deleon, and they share a son and a daughter together. The couple later married in 2017.
Apart from being a professional wrestler, Daniel enjoyed playing basketball and softball as a hobby. He has also a fondness for reading and loves to read books in his spare time.
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