Daniel Cormier, at last
Daniel Cormier was an outstanding collegiate wrestler, winning JUCO nationals twice. But that's not Div I; at Oklahoma State University, DC was one match from Div I All American, and the next year, 2001, made All American. But top 8 wasn't #1 in folkstyle.
At the 2004 Olympics Cormier was 4th. At the 2007 World Wrestling Championships Cormier took bronze. DC returned as team captain at the 2008 Olympics, but was medically withdrawn after suffering kidney failure while cutting weight. When he won gold, it was at the Pan Ams. Again, Cormier wasn't #1 in freestyle.
Then he transitioned to mixed martial arts, eventually winning the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. It wasn't the UFC, and again, DC wasn't #1 in mixed martial arts.
When the UFC acquired Strikeforce, Cormier joined the big show, dropped to 205, and lost to Jon Jones, only winning the title when it was vacated due to Jones' baffling life choices. When Jones returned he beat Cormier. But when Turinabol was found in Jones' system, Bones lost the title, saw the fight outcome changed to No Contest, and the belt was restored to DC. Still, many wondered whether despite his endless human failings, if Jon Jones was still the best light heavyweight, wondered whether Cormier still wasn't #1.
After all these years, at 39, Daniel Cormier was never fully the very best on Earth, something he always strove to be. All that changed Saturday night at UFC 226.
Daniel Cormier is now the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. He is also the light heavyweight champion, the Champ Champ. Daniel Cormier is the best in the world, at last. And maybe more.
With the win, Daniel Cormier now joins the short list of potential candidates for greatest of all time.
And after the coming pay per view fight vs. Brock Lesnar, he's going to be really rich, too.
DC has suffered hugely. He lost his father to murder at age 8. He lost a daughter in a car accident. He worked ferociously hard for decades, always coming up somehow just a fraction short. Now he's the best in the world, maybe the best ever, at last.