Daniel Cormier is set to defend his UFC heavyweight world title for the first time on Saturday (November 3) against Derrick Lewis.
Cormier will meet Lewis in the main-event of UFC 230, held at the famous Madison Square Garden, in New York.
The fight came as a shock however, as Cormier and Lewis only agreed to fight on three weeks notice, after the MSG card endured torrid bad luck.
Firstly, the much anticipated return of Nate Diaz was shelved after his opponent, Dustin Poirier, pulled out due to injury, while the proposed UFC 230 main-event of Valentina Shevchenko v Sijara Eubanks for the flyweight title was also scrapped.
As the UFC scurried for a main-event, the ever reliable DC was called upon, with Lewis, who’s won nine of his last 10 fights, the opponent slated to challenge for Cormier’s title he won against Stipe Miocic.
The surprise however, being that Lewis fought only one month ago on the Khabib Nurmagomedov v Conor McGregor undercard at UFC 229, a fight the ‘Black Beast’ won in dramatic style knocking out Alexander Volkov in the final round.
While heads were also scratched as Cormier, who insists he is to retire in March 2019 when he turns 40, was all but confirmed to fight former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar after he is eligible to fight in January, and then rival Jon Jones after that.
However, with Lesnar reportedly set to take place, this wouldn’t leave Cormier enough time to fit a fight in with Jones if he is to stick to his March 2019 retirement plan, but Lewis believes this is all part of the plan.
Lewis comments about Cormier not wanting a Jones fight
Lewis told reporters at the UFC 230 open-workouts he thinks Cormier agreed to fight him so that he could avoid the question of fighting Jones, before Lesnar makes his return in the new year.
“The reason I think he took the fight with me is because Jon Jones was already fighting in (December),” Lewis said.
“He didn’t want to wait until January and hear all the media talk about, ‘Why is Cormier not fighting for the 205 [pound] belt?’ They’re already saying he’s basically scared to fight Jones right now, anyway.
“He feels like it would be perfect to fight a guy like me that don’t have as much skills on short notice before the Jones fight and he thinks it’s going to be an easy fight for him.
“Yeah, I think he’s scared to fight Jones. The guy beat him twice.”
With Cormier still yet to record a victory against his Jones, will he move his proposed retirement date to fit a fight in against his rival?