When Daniel Cormier called it a career, he already had his future mapped out by joining the UFC broadcast booth as a color commentator.
Since the first night he started calling fights, the former UFC two-division champion has advanced to become one of the strongest and most recognized voices in MMA. Cormier now serves as one-third of the primary broadcast team for the biggest UFC cards of the year on pay-per-view, where he’s joined by Joe Rogan and play-by-play man Jon Anik.
While the lineup changes occasionally — usually due to Rogan’s busy schedule, where he doesn’t travel outside of North America to call fights — Cormier acknowledges that when a massive fight is happening, he’s part of the best broadcast team in combat sports.
“We have become a trio — me, Jon, and Joe — when it comes to pay-per-views, where when you want to feel like it’s a big night, you hear those voices and you see us on the screen,” Cormier told MMA Fighting. “It’s me, Jon, and Joe, and Megan [Olivi] on the reports.
“Megan’s good, she does football and she does the NFL and does all these things, so you know when you’ve got that team that it’s a pay-per-view and it’s a big night. That’s the best.”
The consistency in the broadcast team, especially on pay-per-views, has helped fans realize that when it’s Cormier, Rogan, and Anik calling the action, something special is usually happening.
Cormier compares the lineup to the classic broadcast teams on Monday Night Football over the years, when those NFL games were appointment viewing on network television.
“When Jon Madden and Al Michaels and those guys were on Monday Night Football, you knew you were watching Monday Night Football, and now you get that with the UFC,” Cormier said.
“When you see Jon, Joe, Megan, and me, you go, ‘OK, it’s going to be a big night.’ That’s great for the UFC.”
Of course, Cormier calls fights outside of pay-per-view broadcasts, and he’s often joined by a wide variety of retired or active fighters and analysts.
The newest name to join that list is Laura Sanko, who graduated from doing backstage interviews and reports to calling fights on the Contender Series and then eventually joining the commentary team for the UFC. She called her first pay-per-view back in August when Sean Strickland pulled off a massive upset to defeat Israel Adesanya in the main event.
Cormier was very impressed with Sanko’s work. He also praised some of his other colleagues that constantly raise the bar for the broadcast team.
“She’s done a good job,” Cormier said about Sanko. “I think Laura is honestly one of the hardest working people, because at times, all of us, we go to the fight and you might know this guy so well that I’m going to watch one of his fights before he fights because I know what this guy does. Laura will watch three or four [fights].
“You know who does that more than anyone? Her and Megan [Olivi]. Megan Olivi, Laura Sanko, and Jon Anik are the most prepared human beings I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I’ve never seen people prepare at the level of those three. For Laura to do what she’s been doing from UFC quick hits to the Contender Series and now calling fights, it’s been tremendous. We’re lucky to have the group of analysts and commentators and broadcasters we have right now.”
Cormier closed out 2023 with UFC 296 and there’s plenty more coming, especially with the historic UFC 300 card coming in April 2024.
He never takes his job for granted, especially when calling the biggest fights in the sport.
“[Rogan and Anik] always look right to me and go, ‘We have the best job in the entire world.’ I’m like, dude, nothing compares,” Cormier said. “It’s not even close. I get goosebumps at the table because I’m such a fan of fighting.”