UFC fighter Daniel Cormier, Nemiroff Ambassador Interview

7 minutes
De Luxe

When I am a 70-year-old man, I will be lounging with my wife in our rocking chairs, and drinking Nemiroff vodka with orange juice… the interview with a multiple champion of UFC and Nemiroff ambassador Daniel Cormier.

1. Do you remember the moment when you were determined to become a UFC fighter?

– You know I started to consider it a long time ago. At that time I was in Dagestan, Russia, and I realized that I was ready to fight in the UFC. By that time I had gone through many freestyle wrestling tournaments, such as the Championship of the World 2005, where our team had an opportunity to get a fair amount of money – 25,000 US dollars. Five thousand for each wrestler. At the same time, it occurred to me that by throwing somebody in the ring I could earn substantially more, especially since I had good skills and experience for that. I decided that I needed to try. After the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, I firmly knew that it was that very path that I had to go through.

2. Cool. This is interesting. Is there anything that motivates you when you fight? What inspires you when fighting?

The things that help me to fight, in some sense, have become my life motto – eagerness and diligence. Confidence in a fight, perseverance in training, and in everything. I always tell young sportsmen: “Make the most difficult part of your day the most desirable, and after that everything becomes a great deal simpler, doesn’t it?” This is audaciousness.

For me, that “Wow!” moment is when I take my children and return with them to the gym. This is the part of my day that I look forward to. And when I do this all the rest stuff seems a great deal simpler than it is. This is a certain factor that gives you the power to live and energy for every day.

You have to work on yourself and go to a great purpose, and this surely will bring you to something outstanding.

3. The answer is worthy of a champion. By the way, the Company Nemiroff slogan is indomitable spirit. That very spirit that cannot be submitted or conquered. What does it mean for you “to have an indomitable spirit”?

I think that when you look at me and at the development of my career you will see a low-height fellow, and I have always been like that – 5 feet and 10,5 inches, and possibly even an inch shorter when I entered the UFC octagon. But this is the guy that did great things. Only my will for victory and my unstoppable desire to win allowed me to win two champion belts. There was never a moment in my life when I was ready to surrender and give up my goal. I have never known whether I would be able to achieve it but I forced my way through. And finally, I did it.

4. If we return to the start of our conversation, let’s say, you knew that you wanted to become a fighter since you were a child and before the Olympic games. Can you now review your success? Please tell me what makes you different. Cast back your mind when you were twenty. What was that special in your nature that was not inherent to others?

It seems to me that when those around look at me and know who I have become they definitely may find similarities with the history of the Nemiroff brand development – both of us have indomitable will for victory, and both of us are ready to leave the comfort zone and perform things that were not expected from us. Nobody has ever thought that a kid from Louisiana would become a part of the Olympic team. When I was 15 years old and was doing my first steps here everybody laughed at me since I was a state softball champion. Everybody was saying “Wow”, if you are from Louisiana, of course, you intend to win, because people where you live know nothing about real wrestling. Nevertheless, I continued my training and then I became the only champion of the world as you know. I made it all because I continued to refine myself, and despite all my doubts I have always tried to do more. It is very important to believe in yourself. An indomitable will to win gives its results and it allowed me to become who I am now.

5. Let us get back to the UFC octagon. You make a step, enter the ring, and are ready to fight. When you are ready to fight with your opponent do you rely on your techniques and previous experience or you are guided by spontaneous moves? Or there is some inner instinct of desire for victory that leads you forward?

When I enter the octagon ready to fight then, first of all, I rely on the knowledge that I have got in my training camp. I keep in mind everything that we have done thousands of times during training. At the same time, when a fight starts I rely on my combative instinct, and this is something that you cannot learn. It looks more like a mix of my combative instinct and the experience that I received in my training camp.

6. Some more questions. One of them does not include your family and everything that you achieved. What else, except the octagon that you know everything about, and your family that certainly inspires you for new accomplishments, your parents, your wife, your children… Is there anything except them that motivates you?

Do you know what I am fighting for? My parents, my wife, and my kids are the reason why I step into the ring. But when I look back and think about where I draw energy for this and what is really important in my life… What appears to me? I think of these children. I think about Travis Grace, Moses Maribel, Daniel Zepeda, Moses Mendoza Elijah, and Isaiah Cortez. I think about my son. I think about all these little fighters, Chase Saldate, all the kids from my school team, Henry Porter, Jane Goldman, Vick Hasinto, and Nick Villarreal, the kids that I train every day, I must show them an example. This example must be as striking as it can be so that when they look at me they may understand that they can become whoever they want to.  That they can do anything. Look at my coach. This is real. Really? Look at Michael Jordan in his childhood. Has anyone thought that he could be as good because he was extraordinarily cool? And if he were with you in the same room? That is why when they see me and two of my titles they are capable of much, even to become members of the Olympic team. This is near and this is real for them, and this is what makes me who I am beyond the octagon, that sometimes is more important than who I am inside the octagon.

7. In 10 years you will be sitting at sunset, tired but understanding that you have children, they grew up, grandchildren running all over the place. What will you be thinking about? What to look at? What thoughts come into your mind?

You know, just a few days ago UFC was taking place in Madison Square Garden and the walls of its hall had photos of great athletes,  and among them, there was my photo as well. I was added to the League of great sportsmen. Isn’t it that heritage that will remain forever? I will be sitting there, a 70-year-old man, and telling my grandchildren “Your grandfather was a puncher”, and even though I am old and gray now, at one time I did great things. I hope my heritage will allow my kids, my grandchildren, and their grandchildren to confirm the fact that everyone can achieve anything and become anyone.

8. When finally you are sitting at sunset in your cozy armchair enjoying the sunset, what beverage will you choose, what do you like, what do you drink?

When I am a 70-year-old man, I will be lounging with my wife in our rocking chairs, and drinking Nemiroff vodka with orange juice. Some orange juice is what brings out the flavor. That’s why “Yes”, I choose vodka as my beverage.