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10 Questions for U.S. Nationals champion Daniel Cormier 6/14/2003 John Fuller/USA Wrestling

1. You finally captured a national title, your first of any kind since Junior College. Do you feel that a lot of people and maybe some of your opponents underestimated you coming into this tournament?

Cormier: I don't think anybody underestimated me. I think a lot of things fell into place for me and I wrestled well.

2. Were you surprised at all that you were facing Dean Morrison in the national finals?

Cormier: No, I wasn't surprised. Dean is tough. Any of those guys on the top half of the bracket were capable of getting into the finals. Dean is a veteran, so I expect him to be in the mix every time.

3. You only allowed one point to be scored on you in the entire tournament. What was your game plan going in that allowed you to have such a dominating performance?

Cormier: My game plan was just to wrestle how I am capable of wrestling. Setting the pace of the match to where I control the match. I was not giving up many points because I stayed in good position and kept my hands and feet moving.

4. You seem to have gotten leaner from last year, while also keeping, and possibly adding to, your strength and power. Have you spent more time on your conditioning?

Cormier: Yeah. I started doing a lot of stuff to get my body weight down. For a while I was walking around a little too heavy and it was affecting my wrestling. Now I am eating better and just taking better care of my body.

5. By winning the Dave Schultz Memorial International, the Pan American Championships and the nationals, do you think that things are starting to come together for you now?

Cormier: I think that things are starting to come together. Before nationals, I wasn't 100 percent dedicated. I have a lot more stability in my life in general and it is being reflected in my wrestling. Things are coming together at a good time.

6. What have you changed in your training regimen in the past year?

Cormier: I have a real good training partner. I have someone that can push me. Before, I was moving through a lot of partners. Now, working with Mo (Lawal), he is pushing me and I have to wrestle like I am really wrestling a match. A lot of my success needs to be given to Mo because we do so much together.

7. You are known by many in the wrestling community as a thrower, a guy with great power and explosiveness. At what point in your career did you discover you could use that to your advantage?

Cormier: I guess it was around high school. I started throwing guys, doing a little Greco and learning to use my hips. Ever since then, I have been comfortable in positions that most guys aren't. I know that if there is ever an opportunity for me to throw somebody, I am going to do it without hesitating.

8. In working out, do you try to train with bigger wrestlers, or do you like to go against smaller guys to help with your speed and quickness?

Cormier: I train with a lot of different guys. Here in Stillwater, I train with Mo every day. When I am on the road, I'll train with McCoy and some of the other big guys. My body has developed a little more. I like mixing it up. All the heavyweights are good for you when you are a 211-pounder. I like the different looks.

9. Do you think that the weight class you wrestle in is perfect for you, or would you like to see it shifted a little higher or a little lower?

Cormier: It works out pretty good for me. When I'm training, I usually stay around 221. It lets me train at the weight I wrestle. If it was a little smaller, it wouldn't hurt too bad, because I could still wrestle around 205 or 200, but I wouldn't want it to be any bigger.

10. You obviously did not see many top wrestlers while growing up in Louisiana. Who did you look up to as a kid?

Cormier: I was really wrestling for myself, because you don't see very much wrestling in Louisiana. There weren't many guys who I looked up to. I liked the way Kendall Cross and Zeke Jones wrestled when I got to see them wrestling in the Olympics. I never had a chance to see big guys wrestle. I was just a kid with a lot of athletic ability, and I kind of used that. I would go to camps and take what people taught me. Just using my athletic ability got me a long way. I don't think I learned to wrestle until I got to college.

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