While it wasn’t the fight anyone expected, Daniel Cormier will still defend his UFC heavyweight title for the first time next month at UFC 230 on Nov. 3 against the very dangerous Derrick Lewis.
In need of a main event for UFC 230, the promotion parlayed Lewis’ recent come-from-behind knockout finish over Alexander Volkov at UFC 229 into a much-needed title fight with “DC” next month in New York City. Considering the magnitude of Lewis’ comeback finish and the amount of eyes on UFC 229’s PPV card, UFC was smart to throw “Black Beast” back inside the Octagon right away.
Cormier, who was more than happy to step up on short notice and headline the UFC’s return to the “Big Apple,” was impressed by Lewis’ recent knockout victory. He just doesn’t believe that Lewis can rely on his usual tricks when the two meet next month at Madison Square Garden.
“It was very impressive but not unexpected because I respect what he’s had to accomplish to get to where he is today. But, again, I won’t let him off the hook,” Cormier told MMA Fighting earlier this week during UFC 230’s media day. “There’s no Hail Mary’s when you’re fighting someone like me. He’s going to have to set up that strike more than he’s ever had to set up that strike in his career. I’m not just going to hang my chin out there for him to hit.”
Most people, especially the oddsmakers, aren’t giving “Black Beast” much of a chance to hand Cormier his first professional loss as a heavyweight. Cormier, on the other hand, is listening to Lewis’ warnings to take him seriously and has no plans to overlook the knockout artist when the cage door shuts at UFC 230.
“I didn’t [watch his interview], I just got some tweets saying that he thought he can get me because I’m not taking him serious,” Cormier added. “That’s one mistake we don’t make at the American Kickboxing Academy. Everybody is worthy. And where’s the idea that this guy doesn’t deserve a title shot? This guy’s ranked No. 2 in the world. He just beat the No. 1 and 2-ranked guys in his last two fights within, what? Three months? He’s won nine of his last 10 fights.
“This guy deserves to be in this position. But, sometimes success leads to an obstacle that may be a little too big to conquer. And I think this is the one that he’s going to struggle with.”
Lewis, 33, has produced a 12-3 divisional record since making his debut in 2014, finishing 10 opponents in the process. Those are some incredible numbers considering “Black Beast” fights in the most unpredictable division in MMA.
Lewis’ knockout power can take out any heavyweight in the world right now he just has to find a way to land it against an all-time great like Cormier. But if he misses, Lewis will be in for the longest night of his life.
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