As soon as Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson have the cage door slammed behind them at UFC 232 on Dec. 29, 2018, Daniel Cormier will no longer be the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) “champ-champ,” as the promotion will strip “DC” of his light heavyweight title and reward it to the victor.
It’s a move that doesn’t sit too well with “DC,” but he understands the promotion must move on and allow someone else to take over the throne since he is currently holding on to the heavyweight title, as well.
“It sucks because I defended the belt in January. I do understand the promotion having to move forward. I am not so stuck in myself that I believe they could never, or they would just wait for me as long as I needed them to wait,” Cormier said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour.
“I understand, but it does suck. It is what it is at this point. I’m not going to change it. What’s the point in wasting the energy on complaining. I’m just going to go into this thing at Nov. 3 as double champion and hopefully defend my title and then I will be the heavyweight champion of the world and move forward to the Brock Lesnar fight,” he added.
After knocking Stipe Miocic out earlier this year, “DC” had every intention to defend both belts before he retired. But since a bum hand forced him to the sidelines, the window of opportunity closed.
Still, he will technically be the first fighter to go into a fight as an official “champ-champ” when he defends his 265-pound belt against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 on Nov. 3, 2018. As for the upcoming rematch between Jones and Gustafsson, “DC” says its an easy fight to pick.
“I think Jones wins the fight. I have never once shied away from the fact that he’s a fantastic fighter. He is a really talented guy. He obvious can go with me, keep up with me, he has obviously put in a lot of hard work, so, he must be a hard worker in that sense,” he said.
“I know that Alex, for as good as he is, too, Alex struggles in the big moments. This is a really, really big moment and he is going to have to fight to his level or above his level to try and win.”
In his first two title fights against Jones and Cormier, Gus came up on the losing end. With a third title fight looming, “The Mauler” looks to finally capture his first taste of UFC gold, but he’ll be doing it against a man who has yet to be defeated inside the Octagon and has defeated the current “champ-champ” on two separate occasions.
Will the third time be the charm?