UFC light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is very proud of his wrestling roots, and now the two-time Olympian will serve as the honorary chairman of the Wrestling World Cup in Los Angeles this June.
Cormier's long history with the sport of wrestling pre-dates his UFC career by decades after he pursued a career on the mats long before the Octagon.
Cormier was an All-American at Oklahoma State before two separate runs in the Olympic games. Now he'll support promotional efforts for the upcoming competition that will feature the top eight men's freestyle nations in action.
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The World Cup will also include all six members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling team, including gold medalist Jordan Burroughs and 20-year-old phenom Kyle Snyder.
"It is a great opportunity," Cormier said. "You get to see guys in the final stages of their preparation. During off-Olympic years, you may get to see guys who are not peaked. This is in the phase of when they are peaking for the Olympic Games, two months before the competition."
"The foreign wrestlers will also be in peak condition. Not only will you get to see our guys at their best, but you get to see them competing against some of the best wrestlers in the world at their peak. It is very rare that we get that kind of opportunity here in the United States."
Cormier joins actor and former wrestler Billy Baldwin and three-time Super Bowl champion Stephen Neal as honorary chairs for the wrestling event being held in Los Angeles.
Cormier's role will primarily be to promote the event because he will be unable to attend due to his rigorous training schedule to prepare for his upcoming showdown with Jon Jones at UFC 200.
Cormier will be working with plenty of wrestlers to get ready for the fight, including former NCAA champion Ed Ruth. Funny enough, Jones actually used Ruth to help him prepare for Cormier the last time around, but now the tables have turned.
"Preparation is going great," Cormier said. "I have had Ed Ruth in training camp to wrestle, Deron Winn in training camp to wrestle. I've got a kid from Iowa State coming in to wrestle also. I am wrestling with the best guys I can find to emulate Jon Jones. (Khadjimurad) Gatsalov of Russia was the best wrestler I ever wrestled, but he didn't have the type of style and the funky ability of Jones.
"Ed Ruth is a wiry, tricky wrestler. I am bringing in guys who can give me that feel. I was outwrestled the last fight. He pushed me against the fence and took me down two or three times. That is not happening again."
The World Cup takes place in Los Angeles on June 11-12 in Los Angeles.