- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

HOUSTON (AP) - Daniel Cormier is learning it was never the chase for the UFC light heavyweight championship that motivated him.

It was something much simpler.

“I used to think this was the motivation,” Cormier said, looking to his left at the title at UFC 192 Media Day on Thursday. “I really did. Until I got it and nothing changed. Because at the bottom of it, there’s still competition. That’s what I’m here for.”

That’s what’s driving the champion ahead of his first title defense against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192 on Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston.

Cormier (16-1) lost his first shot at the light heavyweight title to Jon Jones by unanimous decision at UFC 182. After Jones was stripped of the title following felony charges from a traffic accident, Cormier won the vacant light heavyweight title by submission against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 in May.

Now he stands to face a hungry Gustafsson (16-3), who last lost to Johnson via TKO.

Gustafsson’s training camp focused on wrestling among other things, and he’s confident his takedown defense - he blocked 10 of Jones’ 11 takedown attempts in their fight at UFC 165 - is key.

“You can talk a lot but let’s see what happens inside,” Gustafsson said. “I know I’ve turned every stone in my training camp. I’ve been training with the best guys out there when it comes to the wrestling part.”

Cormier has somewhat become a polarizing figure since winning the title. He spoke openly about lack of respect from fans and spectators Thursday, but has come to terms with the fact he can worry about only what happens inside the octagon.

“I think people like you when you’re on your way up,” Cormier said. “But the time you accomplish stuff, it’s easier to dislike somebody at the top than the guy trudging along constantly.”

Things to watch at UFC 192:

EVANS VS. BADER

Injuries have riddled Rashad Evans’ career lately, but the light heavyweight is expected to return to the octagon Saturday against Ryan Bader.

It’ll be Evans’ first fight since Nov. 16, 2013 when he defeated Chael Sonnen by TKO.

“It’s going to be kind of weird feeling the whole atmosphere again, feeling the rush of the fans and everything that goes along with it,” Evans said. “I think it’ll feel weird until I get hit. Once I get hit, then it’s going to be like ‘It’s on.’”

Bader (19-4) has won his last four fights. He is the No. 4 Light Heavyweight in the world. Evans (19-3) is No. 5.

HENDRICKS VS. WOODLEY

The Johny Hendricks-Tyron Woodley welterweight bout was supposed to be a co-main event for UFC 192. Now it won’t be happening at all.

Hendricks didn’t make weight Friday and UFC subsequently scrapped the fight. No replacement fight is planned.

ALSO ON THE MAIN CARD

A heavyweight bout between Shawn Jordan (18-6) and Ruslan Magomedov (13-1).

Jessica Eye (11-3) also meets Julianna Pena (6-2). Eye is the No. 7 women’s bantamweight contender and Pena is No. 11.

UNDERCARD

- Joseph Benavidez (No. 2 UFC flyweight contender) vs. Ali Bagautinov (No. 15 UFC flyweight contender)

- Yair Rodriguez (UFC featherweight) vs. Dan Hooker (UFC featherweight)

- Rose Namajunas (No. 4 UFC strawweight contender) vs. Angela Hill (UFC strawweight)

- Alan Jouban (UFC welterweight) vs. Albert Tumenov (UFC welterweight)

- Chris Cariaso (No. 10 UFC flyweight contender) vs. Sergio Pettis (UFC flyweight)

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