Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier, got some blowback from the mixed martial arts (MMA) community when it was announced that “DC” would be defending his newly-won title against fan favorite, Derrick Lewis, and not former division kingpin, Stipe Miocic.
Heck, even “Black Beast” was in favor of booking the ex-champ.
But Cormier insists there is more to the story than simply being afraid of Miocic, who previously set the promotion's record for title defenses prior to getting dismantled by the Olympian in their UFC 226 headliner back in July.
“I’m not trying to say I’m afraid of Stipe. I swear I’m not afraid of Stipe Miocic. Why would I be?” Cormier told MMAWeekly. “It just did not make sense right now. I don’t mind fighting him again. It’s not like it was the hardest fight.”
After recapturing the 205-pound crown at UFC 220 earlier this year, Cormier (21-1, 1 NC) returned to the heavyweight division for the first time in nearly five years to capture the crown that no longer belongs to teammate Cain Velasquez, melting Miocic by way of first-round fists.
While the victory was sweet — and the catalyst to a showdown that may be even sweeter — the event failed to move the needle and Cormier, as well as Miocic, were unable to capitalize on pay-per-view points after the final tally.
Perhaps this is to blame?
“I do appreciate that he’s being vocal because shit man, maybe if he had done that in the beginning, maybe we would have made some money,” Cormier said. “The pay-per-view didn’t do that well because we did not make money. Obviously, issues sell. Maybe he’s trying to stir the pot a little bit to get some interest in our fight.”
Cormier will tangle with Lewis in the UFC 230 main event on Sat., Nov. 3, 2018 inside Madison Square Garden in New York City, with the winner moving on to fight Brock Lesnar in early 2019, presumably with the heavyweight strap on the line.