The Improbable Daniel Cormier Conquers Again

In 2009 I drove to watch the incomparable man-legend Fedor Emelianenko fight on American soil for only the second time in history. This was also the first time he would fight in a cage instead of a ring. The fight took place in Hoffman Estates, Il, and the rest of the card was equally impressive. Andre Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum, Mousasi against Sokoudjou and Jake Shields fought a still seemingly mentally healthy Jason “Mayhem” Miller. As we walked in toward our seats my brother announced, “Ed! That’s Daniel Cormier! That’s Daniel Cormier!” I looked over at a guy standing behind a table, waiting for anyone to talk with him. He looked emotionally bruised by all of the spectators walking by, unaware of who he was or why they would stop by to ask for his autograph. “Who? Who is that?” I asked.

My brother explained that Daniel Cormier was a wrestler, but had not only had he been a wrestler, he had been an Olympian. Cormier had earned the dreaded 4th place at the 2004 Athens Olympics. That’s the closest to the podium anyone can get, while still sitting on the sidelines with all of the other also-rans. At that point, when we went to watch Fedor knock out Brett Rogers, Daniel Cormier was 1 – 0 in his MMA career. He was just barely starting, waiting to sign autographs to anyone who might wonder who this guy was sitting at the table.

Daniel Cormier looked to be about my height (I’m 5’10”) which is way too small for a heavyweight anything, unless you’re built like Samoan specimen Mark Hunt, or Daniel Cormier it turns out. Cormier’s title shot may have come during a dark time in the UFC Heavyweight Division, but it was no gimme fight. Already the current Light Heavyweight Champion of the UFC, years ago Cormier won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix after having bested Jeff Monson, Antonio Silva, and finally Josh Barnett. Cormier even rag-dolled Barnett, an accomplished lifelong grappler.

Daniel Cormier is about a head shorter than most heavyweights, as evidenced by the ribbing by fellow heavyweight Derrick Lewis earlier this week. Eye-poke weirdness notwithstanding, and a post-fight interview rife with the pro wrestling shtick of Brock Lesnar, Daniel Cormier used the clinch and dirty boxing to knock out Stipe Miocic, who’s shown some of the best boxing ever witnessed inside the the UFC Heavyweight Division.

Today I’m thinking about that 1 – 0 fighter waiting for anyone to acknowledge his potential, and how my brother had to get his autograph. Nearly a decade later, and a hair under the age of 40, Daniel Cormier is the only human to simultaneously hold the Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight UFC belts. The world can now see who Daniel Cormier was working to become.


A Lake Michigan Snapshot at Dusk

A view of Lake Michigan as the sun goes down behind me in Milwaukee. I enjoyed how this one tree on the right was getting a last sliver of light. It’s a ok picture, fine for a phone. I’ve got a DSLR I’ve really got to learn how to use properly. I think that’s something I’m going to focus on this summer while I’ve got access to through school.

Thoughts on Poetry, Writing, and the Trades

Poetry. Sometimes I admire carpenters (for example). People sit within their work, share dinner on their tables, sleep inside of their houses. Imagine being a plumber and someday knowing that thousands of people can bathe or brush their teeth or cook pasta because of your work. That’s noble; changes lives. I wonder if that’s a satisfying thought. Ever heard of a poetry outage? “The poetry is backing up – better call a type writer?” Do people worry? Does it make people evaluate their survival skills? Question their gardening abilities? Nah. I admire the trades, their necessity. Poetry is like garbage collection – apparent sometimes only in its stinking absence.

Beach Glass Along the Lake Michigan Shore

A stunning beach glass haul (sunglasses included – that was a first!) during a lunchtime stroll today at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. All kinds of treasures wash up along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Milwaukee. Check out my new article about beach glass on the Schlitz Audubon Blog.

The Iron Angels Complete Their Flat Track Race Motorcycle

Here the @theironangels are putting the final touches on their race bike before the first race this Saturday. They are the first all-female race team to participate in the @buildmoto motorcycle racing program. Logo design by @caro74happy . The tires even have a little bit of practice dirt between the treads. This bike will be raced on a flat dirt track against the other Build Milwaukee bikes for the first time this Saturday. Their garage space is at Harley Davidson University, and the teams currently use Honda CL160 or CL175 bikes. This is the first year that Build is racing flat track instead of road racing. Click the image to see other pictures. Complete story to come…

Interviewing Great Lakes Author Dan Egan this Thursday

dan egan death cover

This Thursday, May 17 I have the pleasure of interviewing Dan Egan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Great Lakes Reporter, and author of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes. Egan will read excerpts from his book, participate in a discussion, and take questions from the audience. The event takes place at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, complete details here.

Vintage Pantera Muscle Car Waiting to be Driven

I stumbled on a Pantera that somebody had evidently driven to work. Panteras were built using Ford engines with the intent that people could drive a flashy exotic looking muscle car but still take it to any garage for regular service, keeping ownership and maintenance costs low. They were even sold in Ford dealerships when they were first produced. Neat car – glad to see it’s being driven! Click the arrows to see other angles of this fantastic classic.