Daniel Cormier Overcame 3-Month Old Daughter’s Tragic Death to Find UFC Stardom

Over the last several years, Daniel Cormier has worked himself into being a fixture in the UFC. Cormier has found tremendous success in the octagon, reaching the business’s pinnacle of success as the heavyweight champion. However, before all that came about, he experienced the lowest lows with devastatingly losing his infant daughter.

Daniel Cormier’s UFC Success

It didn’t take long for Daniel Cormier to find immediate success in the octagon as he was a massive draw for Strike Force.

Cormier worked his way to the top of the business behind his tremendous success, which saw him win a couple of heavyweight titles. That was capped by winning the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament, which he topped Josh Barnett. Not long after that, Cormier earned the opportunity to compete in the UFC after winning his first 11 fights at Strike Force.

He continued that success since the transition with the only real thorn in his side being Jon Jones, who has beaten him twice, with the second being changed to a no-contest due to a failed drug test. Cormier has worked through that to continue to stay at the top of his game and is headed toward avenging his loss to Stipe Miocic in his last match. That included winning the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles.

Before all that came to fruition, he suffered a life-changing loss of his daughter.

Daniel Cormier’s daughter tragic passing

In the years ahead of his MMA stardom, Daniel Cormier worked his way up the ranks.

He wrestled in high school and at the collegiate level at Oklahoma State University. During this time in 2003, he had his first daughter, Kaedyn, with his girlfriend at that juncture. Things took a devastating turn on June 14, 2003, when his infant daughter passed away after a car accident in Texas. He recounted the situation on ESPN’s E:60, which he was bewildered by it all.

“I call the highway patrol. They tell me there is an accident on the highway and that there were three people injured and one fatality and that was her…Just guy not being responsible. Not paying attention. The baby is strapped in exactly how she’s supposed to be. The guy bangs into the back of the car. She died at the scene.

“We buried Kaedyn in Texas and I just remember he casket being so so so small. I just remember her in the casket and not understanding why does stuff like this keep happening.”

She was the only person killed in the crash with a semi-truck. That loss crushed Cormier, who as 24 years old at the time, which he missed the US Wrestling Team trials for the 2004 Olympics. The entire situation has since changed his outlook on his life.

Daniel Cormier’s outlook on life


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In the years that have followed that tragic situation, Daniel Cormier has continued to push through to find tremendous success in the octagon and balance in his life.

Cormier has become a legendary MMA while he has two young children, a son, and daughter, at home with his wife, Salina Deleon. At the same time, the loss of his daughter was the hardest thing to get through in his life. That has pushed him to dedicated everything he did to Kaedyn. (H/T Kelley D. Evans of The Undefeated)

“Everything I did every day of my life going forward was for Kaedyn. For a long time, it was singular. She may have been the guiding force of everything I was doing, from the moment she passed in 2003 until 2011 when I had Daniel. She has always been my guiding light. As she is still today, her and Daniel and Marquita, for me and the rest of my family. Some people don’t recover from a loss like that, and I’m just lucky that I was able to take that energy and use it to actually encourage me to train harder, work harder, work smarter.

“Make sure that I can be a good father to my children that are here on this earth with me today. I always want to make her proud. Every day in my actions, would she be proud? I think so far the answer is yes.”

Through tragedy, Cormier has preserved and garnered a stronger connection to his family, which has pushed him to become what he has become today.