Daniel Cormier, who coaches Gilroy High School, embraces Nick Villarreal (Photo, Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Daniel Cormier -- amateur wrestling champion and 2008 U.S. Olympic team member who now holds UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight titles -- will add yet another honor to his already impressive resume ... as a member of the Class of 2019 for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, the facility announced this week.
Cormier will be receiving the George Tragos Award, "presented to an exceptionally competitive wrestler who adapted his wrestling skills and competitive nature to excel in mixed martial arts" according to the Hall of Fame statement.
"You know you're getting old when you start making your way into Hall of Fames," Cormier wrote on Twitter. "What an honor to be getting inducted into the Tragos/Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. I'm truly honored to receive this award."
Daniel Ryan Cormier, 40, was a three-time Louisiana high school state wrestling champion. He headed north to Colby Community College where he was a two-time NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) national champ at 197 pounds, in 1998 and 1999. Cormier then transferred to Oklahoma State University, where he was a two-time NCAA Division I championships qualifier, making it to the 184-pound finals at the 2000 NCAAs, losing to Iowa State's Cael Sanderson (now head wrestling coach at Penn State). After graduation, Cormier wrestled freestyle. Among his honors: bronze medalist at the 2007 World Championships, a two-time gold medalist at the Pan American Championships, and member of the U.S. men's freestyle team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Cormier launched his pro mixed martial arts career in September 2009, compiling a 22-1-1 record. Among his greatest accomplishments: winning both the heavyweight and light-heavyweight titles in UFC, the premier professional MMA organization.
Cormier's award is named in honor of George Tragos, who won many amateur titles in Greece and competed on two Olympic teams for his native land. He moved to the United States in the late 1920s where he combined his love of competing with his desire to teach and coach, including a stint as coach for the University of Missouri wrestling program before focusing on a professional wrestling career.
Cormier is one of a number of honorees to be inducted into the Tragos/Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame July 25-27. Cormier will not be able to attend, as he is in training for an August fight.