More than a few eyebrows were raised when it was announced that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier would be putting his title on the line against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 on Nov. 3, 2018 in New York, N.Y.
That’s because “DC” was adamantly holding out for Brock Lesnar, while “Black Beast” had just knocked out Alexander Volkov two days prior to the announcement at UFC 229 in Las Vegas, Nevada (watch it).
So why did Cormier accept the short-notice fight against one of the hardest-hitters in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA). It simply made
“I didn’t think I was going to fight on this card, but the deal I got was so good,” Cormier said. “There was no way I could say no, honestly. Especially with a guy like Derrick, who is not known for the best cardio. I’ve got to start fast and hope I can push harder than him, even with a short camp,” said Cormier in a recent interview with ESPN.
The fight against Lewis will be one of two remaining on his current UFC deal, which will be his last as he will be retiring in early 2019. Earlier this week, it was announced that the promotion would be stripping “DC” of his Light Heavyweight title in order to allow Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson compete for it at UFC 232 on December 29.
Still, Daniel does have the option to face the winner, or hold out for Lesnar in what would be the final fight of his storied career.
“Counting the Lewis fight, I think I’m down to two fights left,” Cormier said. “Maybe this will be a blessing in disguise, the fact that I don’t have a crazy, long fight camp to beat myself down. That may prolong it for me, but right now, I think I have this one and maybe one more. I can still fight in March and hit my retirement date,” he added.
“The one opponent that would matter to me most is Jones, because he’s beaten me twice. The one that would mean more financially would be Lesnar. I think I would always pick the one that means more, but my wife might have something to say about that,” he joked.
Stipe Miocic, the man Cormier knocked out to become “champ-champ,” recently came out in defiance of the Lewis fight, saying he threw his name in the hat to rematch Daniel at UFC 230. Cormier — who is still healing from a busted hand -- says he would never accept a short-notice rematch against the former longest reigning heavyweight champ.
“I would not have accepted a rematch against Stipe Miocic on short notice, he’s too good under these circumstances,” Cormier said.
“I’m not saying Derrick isn’t good, but Stipe is capable of beating me in different ways. He does different things well. I think in this fight, Derrick has to knock me out to win. Usually, if a guy only has one path to victory, I do pretty well. Yes, I will admit the opponent factored into this,” admitted the honest “champ-champ.”
To get up-to-speed with the latest UFC 230 fight news, click here.