When Daniel Cormier enters the Octagon on Saturday to face Stipe Miocic in their much-anticipated rematch at UFC 241, he'll be fighting for more than just his chance to retain the heavyweight belt.
Cormier, who trains at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, also is the wrestling coach at Gilroy High School. Tragedy recently hit the Gilroy community when a gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28, killing four people and wounding 13 others.
So Cormier not only will be fighting for the belt Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, but also to represent his community.
"With my attachment to the community, and being the guy that's probably -- you know I talk about all the fighters from the city, but I'm the guy at the forefront as the champion," Cormier told NBC Sports Bay Area. "The opportunity to represent the community on such a massive stage is a huge honor for me. It hasn't been long since the shooting happened, and to be in such a big spot and to carry the flag of the town of Gilroy means a ton to me.
"People will be watching. They will be rooting and cheering. I know that on Saturday, I'm going to show and prove how strong people from Gilroy are and make them proud."
Cormier defeated Miocic via first-round knockout at UFC 226 last July,
He hopes to lift a belt and a community Saturday with another victory over Miocic on Saturday.