Active UFC champion Daniel Cormier has accepted a head-coaching role with the wrestling program at Gilroy High School, located south of San Jose, California.
Cormier, 39, is the UFC’s light heavyweight champion and is preparing for a heavyweight title fight against Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 on July 7. He is also a team captain at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose and a former U.S. Olympian.
Mike Perry and Yancy Medeiros will be looking to get back on track when the welterweights meet as part of the UFC 226 card on July 7. Medeiros lost to Donald Cerrone in February, and Perry has lost his past two bouts.
UFC lightweight contender Kevin Lee, who fights Edson Barboza on Saturday night, is motivated by carrying on the legacy of his former coach who died in December.
He has repeatedly stated he will not fight past his 40th birthday, which he will celebrate next March. Coaching high school athletes is in his post-retirement plans.
“The job came available in my town and it’s a really good school and program — but most of all, it helps my son,” Cormier told ESPN. “My boy is seven and he has a lot of good partners at AKA, but when you add that team too, it gives him a ton of guys to wrestle with. I believe it will help him on his journey.
“It will also help a lot of the kids on their journey in high school, with the visibility and the notoriety I have. I can get coaches in the room to take a look at these kids and help them get opportunities to go to college. The sport has done so much for me, I just want to give back.”
According to MMAFighting, which first reported Cormier’s acceptance of the position, Cormier plans to donate his Gilroy salary to his assistant coaches.
Cormier wrestled at Oklahoma State University prior to making the U.S. Olympic team in 2004 and 2008. He won the UFC’s light heavyweight championship in 2015 and has made three successful title defenses.
The San Jose Mercury News has reported Cormier will officially take over the coaching role on Thursday, pending school district approval.
“I was a little surprised myself,” Gilroy principal Marco Sanchez told Mercury News. “He’s a resident of Gilroy, so he’s been in the community the past five or six years. He knows the wrestlers already. He’s looking for something to do in the next phase of his career and he wants to do the coaching thing. I am excited about it, as is the community.”