MMA: How did Patrick Cummins go from serving coffee to a UFC co-main event in 24 hours?

He will fight Daniel Cormier in UFC 170

Last week, very few had heard the name Patrick Cummins in the world of MMA. As of last Wednesday, Cummins worked in a drive through coffee shop to try to financially support his training. He is an MMA prospect who has four wins from four fights but has struggled to find opponents due to his impressive wrestling pedigree. He has never fought in the UFC. Next Saturday however, Cummins will be taking part in UFC 170 in the co-main event. How? Let me explain…

Daniel Cormier is an ex-Olympic wrestler. He is undefeated through thirteen fights in MMA and after winning the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, he moved to the UFC where he has won both of his fights so far. At 34-years-old, he is not an “up and comer”, he is an “already there”. Cormier is widely considered to be the best wrestler in the UFC and was a top contender for the UFC Heavyweight belt. This issue here however is that Cormier trains with and coaches Heavyweight Champion, Cain Velasquez. As an alternative route to the top, and being that Cormier is a relatively small heavyweight, he has opted to drop to the light-heavyweight division to try to win his first UFC title. 

The fight everyone wants to see is Cormier taking on Jon Jones for the title, yet both must win before that fight can be made. Cormier was due to face his toughest test next weekend at UFC 170 against ex-champ Rashad Evans, who has rediscovered his form. On Wednesday afternoon, UFC President Dana White, received word that Evans had sustained an injury in training and would no longer be able to take part. With 10 days until fight night White told Cormier that the fight would be cancelled as there was no appropriate replacement. 

Cormier was devastated. It is the first time he has had to cut his weight down to the 205 pound limit and his training was on point. Also, he had trained at enormous financial expense, and was concerned that it would be for nought. He pleaded with White and later to UFC fighters over Twitter to find him an opponent. Thanks to the power of social media, 24 hours later is prayers had been answered. 

Patrick Cummins knows Cormier well. In the past, he had been a training partner for Cormier prior to the Olympic Games. As a 4-0 top prospect, those in the know believe in his MMA potential and he is an athletic specimen. As soon as he heard, Cummins and his manager, Ryan Parsons, took to Twitter and began their unlikely campaign. Cummins after all was confident, for he had by his own account once been so dominant over Cormier in wrestling training that he had made him cry. 

MMA journalist Ariel Helwani got wind of the campaign and saw its potential. Helwani has large influence in the world of MMA and is the sport’s most revered journalist. Helwani backed the campaign and started Tweeting himself. Word eventually got back to Dana White and he got working. 

At 2:30 am on Thursday morning, Cummins did what he did every day. He woke up and got ready for work. At work he began baking before moving on to the drive through counter to take orders. Later that morning Cummins’ phone began vibrating in his pocket - a missed call. Then another missed call, followed by another. Eventually the coffee shop’s phone rang and Cummins’ boss told him “it’s for you”. It was Ryan Parsons….

“This might actually happen. We might get the fight. I’m on my way to you now!”

When Parsons pulled up at the coffee shop he handed Cummins his phone to which Cummins respond that he was off work in just twenty minutes and could it wait?

“It’s Dana White!” was all Cummins needed to hear. 

He told White on the phone that the rumours were true. He had outwrestled Cormier, he had made him cry and he would do it again in 10 days time. Whilst on the phone, Cummins coffee shop boss fired him. White told him to get down to the gym. He had got the fight. An opportunity of a lifetime for the newly unemployed Cummins. 

The very next day, the media frenzy began. Interview after interview after interview, followed swiftly by the arrival of UFC’s production team to film their Countdown show. Cummins is not used to this level of attention, but he is ready for the occasion. He has been ready for a long long time. He was born ready. 

This is no work of fiction, this is just another week in the UFC. If you like the underdog, this sport is really for you. If you like unpredictability, this sport is unparalleled. If you like a crossbreed of entertainment and immense skill and you do not currently follow MMA or the UFC, take my word for it. You’re missing out.

Result

On Saturday night at UFC Fight Night in Brazil, Lyoto Machida beat Gerard Mousasi by Unanimous decision. He moves one step closer to earning a UFC Middleweight title shot against the winner of Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort who face off at UFC 173. Since moving down from light-heavyweight to middleweight, Machida looks like a new fighter, seemingly reinvigorated.

 

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada