Daniel Cormier isn't perfect, but the UFC light heavyweight contender is about as close as humanly possible when it comes to mixed martial arts.
He's 14-0 in his career, including a 3-0 record in the UFC, and he has nine finishes. He's fought in 28 rounds, including 19 rounds that were scored by judges.
Considering that there are three judges in a fight, that means Cormier was judged 57 times. In 56 of those – 98.2 percent of the time – Cormier was judged the winner. Add in the nine rounds in which he finished the fight, multiply it by the three judges, and Cormier has won 98.8 percent of all rounds he's fought.
One judge scored the fifth round of his rout against Josh Barnett for Barnett. Other than that, it's been all Cormier.
Despite his often one-sided dominance, Cormier still isn't satisfied. Nor will he be totally satisfied if he blows out veteran Dan Henderson when they meet in the co-main event at UFC 173 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden on May 24.
Cormier has frequently been the best in class at whatever athletic pursuit he's chosen. He was a two-time Olympian and was captain of the 2008 U.S. men's wrestling team in Beijing.
As close as he's come to being the outright best, though, he hasn't quite made it. And despite his many successes, it still gnaws at him.
His dominance in MMA is something that clearly means a lot to him.
"I'm very proud of it," Cormier says of his mark of victorious scored rounds. "I'm proud of the fact that every time I go into the Octagon, I've been consistent and I've not only won, but won going away. I've never walked to the center of the cage with my heart beating through the center of my chest, because I knew the judges were going to have written down my name for the decision. I'm very proud of it and I love having that zero attached to my name."
Still, Cormier is haunted by past failures. He's always come up just short of being the best. He didn't win the cadet world championships when he was a teenaged wrestling star. He didn't win the world championship. He didn't win the NCAA championship. He didn't win the Olympic championship.
He was there. He was close. He could have won it, but he didn't. And for a fierce competitor like Cormier, it's something that he simply can't let go of.
And so, those past shortcomings in his athletic career are driving him relentlessly toward the UFC title.
"Athletically, I can say I've finally won," he said of the imagined moment when he wins the UFC belt. "I didn't win the Olympics. I didn't win the world championships. I didn't win the NCAA tournament. I always have been one of the best guys, but I have never been the best guy.
"It will be great to be 35, 36 years old and to finally achieve what I strived so many times in my life to be: The absolute best at whatever it is I'm doing. I've always been close, but I've never been the best, and winning the UFC championship would be the completion of an athletic dream that started when I was fricking 8-9 years old."
He needs to beat Henderson and then his shot is perhaps a fight away, as champion Jon Jones is expected to next defend his title against Alexander Gustafsson. The best Cormier can hope for now is a victory over Henderson and then to meet the Jones-Gustafsson winner.
Cormier is coming off a victory over UFC rookie Patrick Cummins that did little to advance his cause. But a win over a guy like Henderson would do wonders for him.
He fought Cummins on a little more than a week's notice, which he said is great for him because he spent most of the time preparing for Rashad Evans. A former UFC champion, Evans was a major threat and Cormier knew it. But he wonders what his mindset would have been had he faced an MMA neophyte like Cummins from the start.
"Luckily for me, Rashad [fell out and Cummins replaced him] so late and I'd already been through the bulk of my training camp," Cormier said. "If you're not careful, you could fall into traps in your training if you're preparing for someone like a Patrick Cummins rather than a Rashad Evans or a Dan Henderson.
"When you're preparing for a Dan Henderson, you know everything has to be in order. If it's all not in order, you're going to get beat up, simple as that. I've been thorough in my preparation and I've worked hard to cover all of my bases so I'm ready for everything that Dan brings."
And that goes back to Cormier's competitiveness. He's not one who can easily shake off defeat.
He's not even a guy who can deal well with coming close to a defeat.
"You have no idea how competitive I am, seriously," Cormier said, chuckling. "I brought my Xbox with me before a fight once and I played with my coaches. One beat me and I said, 'You're just trying to kill my confidence.' They play me again until eventually I get them and then I yell and scream, 'You'll never beat me!' It's how I am.
"I do stuff like that all the time. It's pretty pathetic, but I hate losing at anything. I'll tell you, I lose so much money gambling because I can't deal with the fact that they're beating me. I just look at the dealer and go, 'I can beat you. I know I can beat you.' It's how I'm wired."
In his MMA career, he has been right. He's beaten everyone he's faced and he's only a few more rounds away from getting the chance to capture his goal.
And then, if he wins five more rounds, well, he'll set off a major league celebration.
"That title will mean so much to me, I can't even put it into words," he said. "It will represent so much of what I've got through in my athletic career and what I've worked so dang hard for. I don't have the words to express adequately what it will mean for me to be able to say, finally, that I'm the absolute best."