BURBANK, Calif. — A UFC champion says he’d be interested in a move over to WWE — just not in an in-ring performer role.
Daniel Cormier, the UFC’s light heavyweight champion and a longtime pro-wrestling fan, said Tuesday at a media lunch that he would be interested in a future role as a WWE broadcaster.
“I would do something like that,” Cormier said. “But having to wrestle a match, that’s crazy at this point to learn to have to wrestle. That could be crazy, man. But I would like to get to commentate some matches. I think that would be fun for me.”
Cormier, 39, is a very busy man right now. He’s in Los Angeles this week to promote the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 27, which airs Wednesday night on FS1. Cormier coaches on the reality show this season opposite UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. Miocic will defend his title against Cormier in the superfight main event of UFC 226 on July 7 in Las Vegas.
On top of that, Cormier is the co-host of UFC Tonight on FS1, a regular analyst for the UFC’s FS1 and Fox broadcasts and a color commentator on UFC pay-per-view and cable events. On Tuesday, the former Olympian also became a high-school wrestling coach.
But, despite all that, Cormier has set a hard out for his MMA career — next March, when he says he’ll retire. And if Fox doesn’t re-up its broadcast deal with the UFC, Cormier might have at least a little bit of time on his hands.
Cormier has been a wrestling fan since childhood. He admits that he has even appropriated, unknowingly, a Jim Ross WWE Attitude Era catchphrase during his UFC commentary gig. When Rose Namajunas knocked out Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217 last November, Cormier’s call “Thug Rose! Thug Rose! Thug Rose!” went viral. Later, “DC” said he realized where he got it.
“You guys remember when Jim used to yell ‘Stone Cold! Stone Cold! Stone Cold!’” Cormier said. “Same thing. After I did it, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve heard this somewhere before.’ I was like, ‘Oh shit, I guess it was a Jim Ross thing.’”
Cormier’s reaction to Seth Rollins cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase and winning the WWE title at WrestleMania 31 in 2015 also got a lot of attention on YouTube, as did his recent comments about The Young Bucks. He said he can’t pinpoint how old he was when he first became a pro wrestling fan, but it was a long time ago.
“Let’s just say this, I’ve been watching since the pay-per-view was on Channel 9 and it was like squiggly lines and every now and again you could like make out a figure,” Cormier said. “Remember when you could just listen to a pay-per-view, but not watch it? You’d hear all the play-by-play. I used to do that, because my mom was never buying me a pay-per-view. So I would listen to the ‘Macho Man’ wrestle, because I loved the ‘Macho Man.’ I’ve been watching this shit since I was a kid, man.”
Cormier grew up Lafayette, La., and said his first introduction to was the Mid-South territory.
“Kamala was there, the Junkyard Dog, ‘The Big Cat’ Ernie Ladd used to come through there,” Cormier said. “We used to sit in the little auditorium on folding chairs and watch wrestling. I thought Kamala was the scariest person I’d ever seen in my life. He had a handler. I can’t remember the guy’s name — the guy was dressed like a zookeeper or some shit like that. Kamala would walk out, his ass all out. ‘Damn, Kamala, fix your shit, son. Fix your shit.’ I was like, I kind of like this. And I kept watching it and watching it.”
Maybe one day he’ll be calling it.