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Most of us will not experience what it’s like for UFC light heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier and his family over the holidays. The Christmas dinner? Not so much. By that, well it means not so much. As Cormier told us recently before an Inside MMA it’s all about “discipline.” “I am focusing on the task at hand, and that means the dinner table as well. It’s overstated guys can’t do anything (around this time of year) but it’s about habits established and part of that is getting in my running and training and pacing myself around all the meals and gatherings.”

Cormier takes on the champ Jon Jones on January 3, in one of the most anticipated match ups ever. Fueled by their press conference melee in August that turned out to be anything but routine, with real pushing, shoving, finger pointing, and name calling. If that was staged, then both Cormier and Jones deserve Golden Globe nods as much as Michael Keaton. Cormier called Jones “the best fighter in the world for a reason,” last week on our show and went on to again, deal with the discipline of it all. “I will not let emotion carry me, you can’t fight at your highest level. That’s why I rely on my coaches and management team and all the hours of training to deal with this extra burning desire.”

There will be a Christmas at the Cormier house and presents will be opened, food in moderation will be consumed. Probably not what you have in mind for your family, but then as with most of us, we are not world class athletes preparing for the biggest career moment. Cormier is more focused on the “big present in the middle of the cage,” just after the first of the year. “The one I don’t have to ask Santa Claus for, I will get it on my own.”

Now dinner after that, if he indeed is wearing the belt, would really be a feast worth waiting for.

It would be a stretch to call Robbie Lawler a great comeback story this year. But he is as interesting as any UFC champ in history. Given the time frame between when the hot young star on the rise debuted at UFC 37 in 2002, to when he left in 2004 after losing to Evan Tanner at UFC 50, to when he came back to the organization in 2013 and took the welterweight belt from Johny Hendricks last weekend. That’s a decade worth, and well worth the wait.

It wasn’t as if he went away during that time. Always active, and always with the threat of a one punch knockout, he was the EliteXC champ as a middleweight and before that a Super Brawl title and an ICON championship. He also fought in Strikeforce, beating the likes of Matt Lindland, Frank Trigg, and Scott Smith among others. But it was the return to the big time of the UFC, that reestablished him as the wonderful talent with all the promise of that teenage sensation training under Pat Miletich in Iowa. He was the Bazzie Award winner in 2013 as the “Breakthrough Fighter of the Year.”

“One of the Great Testaments to Perseverance” is way too long to put on another trophy for Lawler. UFC Champion sums it up perfectly.


Got something you’re burning on? Tell the man himself on Twitter. Watch Kennyalong with Bas Rutten, LIVE on “Inside MMA” Fridays on AXS TV! Check out Kenny’s book “Not Hit Yet,” an insider look at the MMA world.

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