Acadiana MMA fans have something to look forward to this weekend. Lafayette Native Daniel Cormier makes his UFC debut Saturday at UFC on Fox 7 "Henderson vs. Melendez".
Cormier, the two time Olympic wrestler, will place his undefeated 11 fight win streak on the line against veteran jiu-jitsu specialist and former heavyweight champion Frank Mir.
A victory for Cormier could place him on the fast track for a title shot while a win for Mir could secure a position amongst the heavyweight division's top five. Mir is currently holds the #6 spot in the UFC fighter rankings while Cormier sits firmly at #3.
Now fighting out of American Kick Boxing Academy in San Hose California, Cormier is a training partner and teammate of UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez.
A successful title defense by Velasquez in May could have the two facing off for the title by the end of the year. We are basically, in theory, two fights away from the possibility of a Lafayette native fighting for a UFC championship title. Again.
Earlier this year Lafayette native Liz Carmouche fell prey to Rhonda Rousey's signature arm bar finish in the first ever woman's 135 lb. championship bought. Carmouche did find some success with an impressive standing neck crank after the two women exchanged strikes early, but was eventually Rousey's 7th consecutive opponent to tap out before the second round.
For Cormier to remain undefeated this Saturday he will need to continue using the same weapons he used to blast his way through Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. He will need to use the same World class wrestling and the same powerful boxing that led to 7 finishes in 11 victories and zero losses.
Depending on which odds maker you talk to Cormier is around -400 favorite to win (bet $400 to win $100). While Frank Mir has proven to be susceptible to the TKO in the past, it wasn't long ago he welcomed former champion Brock Lesnar to the UFC with a kneebar submission. The crafty veteran actually holds the one and only toe hold finish in UFC history.
UFC on Fox 7 begins at 7:00 PM Saturday April 20th. For a full fight card and info on other match ups click here.