Daniel Cormier may drop a class

Updated: July 18, 2012, 10:30 PM ET
By Franklin McNeil | ESPN.com

In the event former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez regains his title, Strikeforce 2011 Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier told ESPN.com that he will consider a move to light heavyweight.

Cormier and Velasquez are close friends and teammates at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., and Cormier has no desire to fight him.

Cormier I don't want to fight Cain Velasquez. He's helped me so much to become a mixed martial artist. When I started the dude opened himself up to me and showed me so much. He didn't have to do that for me.

-- Strikeforce fighter Daniel Cormier

But aside from not wanting to fight his friend, Cormier is excited by the possibility of facing UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

"I'm not saying that's what I want to do (move to light heavyweight) right now," Cormier told ESPN.com. "A lot depends on what happens between Cain and (current UFC heavyweight champion) Junior dos Santos. "

Dropping to 205 pounds "is a potential plan B if Cain becomes champion again, which I think he will," Cormier said. "Imagine that: Me and Jones standing across the cage from one another. That would be crazy because you know I'm putting him on his back."

Velasquez is in line to face dos Santos. They were slated to meet Sept. 22 at UFC 152 in Toronto, but the bout was pulled off that card.

Dos Santos defeated Velasquez by first-round knockout on Nov. 12, 2011, to become UFC heavyweight champion.

UFC has not yet rescheduled a date for dos Santos-Velasquez II.

Cormier will fight once more for Strikeforce on Sept. 29 in Sacramento, Calif., against an opponent to be named. Afterward, he will begin competing in UFC.

ESPN.com has Cormier ranked fourth among heavyweights, and he isn't expected to wait long for a UFC title shot upon arriving in the promotion.

In his most recent fight, Cormier dominated Josh Barnett on May 19 to win the heavyweight Grand Prix. Cormier improved his professional mixed martial arts record to 10-0.

According to Cormier, his impressive run up the heavyweight ladder is due in large part to Velasquez.

While the relationship with Velasquez will play a huge part in determining his future heavyweight plans, Cormier isn't completely ruling out possibly facing his friend inside the Octagon one day.

"I don't want to fight Cain Velasquez," Cormier said. "He's helped me so much to become a mixed martial artist. When I started, the dude opened himself up to me and showed me so much. He didn't have to do that for me. (Fighting each other is) something we will all sit down and discuss as a team, as a management company, as coaches and try to figure something out.

"As I've said time and time again, if Cain is champion, in my heart of hearts, I know I don't want to fight that guy. Then I will go fight Jon Jones. I will fight Jon Jones if I have to."

Whether at heavyweight or light heavyweight, one thing is certain: Cormier intends to fight for a UFC title in the not-too-distant future.

He can't afford to waste any time.

"I've got to go now," Cormier said of fighting for a title. "I'm 33 years old. I had a birthday in March and the dang year is almost over. This could possibly be the peak of my career, right now. And I have to be ready for it.

"This might be where my career tops off and flattens in the next year or so. I want high-level competition; I'm not a 23-year-old kid."

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