Rejecting surgery, Cormier looks at Kobe Bryant's recovery ahead of UFC 182 title fight
UFC title contender Daniel Cormier refuses to go under the knife before he faces light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, even though he has more time to fix a “jacked” right knee after their title fight’s postponement.
“I’m an old-school wrestling guy – put some tape on it, and let’s go to work,” Cormier (15-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) on Thursday told USA TODAY Sports.
Cormier, an Olympic wrestler-turned-MMA fighter, now gets five months to prepare for his grudge match with Jones (20-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC). The two brawled at a news conference earlier this month, sparking national headlines, but the bout was delayed when Jones suffered a torn meniscus and sprained ankle and forced the UFC to move the fight from September’s UFC 178 to UFC 182 on Jan. 3 in Las Vegas.
That’s a lot of tape, it seems, but Cormier isn’t so rigid as to reject a possible work-around.
“I’ve got a great doctor, and he makes everything accessible to me, so we’re going to look at some other things, like (platelet-rich plasma) therapy,” he said. “We may go overseas and do some stem-cell (therapy). There’s a whole bunch of options.”
Cormier pointed at Kobe Bryant’s comeback from an injury to his Achilles’ tendon as an encouraging sign. Another MMA star, ex-UFC champ and Bellator MMA fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, underwent PRP therapy and said the procedure gave him the knees of an 18-year-old. UFC President Dana White used it to correct an inner-ear disorder.
“Kobe was OK in a matter of months,” Cormier said. “He was able to start the season after people thought that his age, he would be out much, much longer.”
PRP, which is not approved by the FDA, reportedly works for two to four years, which in theory could be great for an athlete like Cormier, who will fight Jones two months shy of his 36th birthday.
And even if the treatment doesn’t work as it could, Cormier said, he’s been doing pretty good on bad knees. Although he previously contemplated surgery, his concerns were centered around an injured lateral collateral ligament. With that problem now resolved, he sees no reason to undergo an invasive procedure.
“This is my knee as I know it,” he said. “I feel 100 percent, because I don’t know any better.”
Jones, meanwhile, said he was scheduled for surgery on Thursday. He apologized to fans for the bout’s delay and said he would work to recover as quick as possible.
Cormier thinks his opponent could use a little bit of the old-school mentality.
“These guys are modern-day athletes, which, it’s probably the smart thing to do,” he said. “You get it hurt, you get it fixed, and you take time away. I don’t have the luxury of time.”
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