Getting to UFC 230’s big return to Madison Square Garden on November 9 has been quite the mess. But everything appears to all be squared away.
Coming to the surprise of pretty much everyone, the new and final main event is now set to be a heavyweight title bout that will feature the champion Daniel Cormier taking on Derrick Lewis.
There are three core reasons as to why this was such a surprise: 1. The card is a month away, 2. Lewis just fought a very tough fight at UFC 229, 3. Cormier has been healing from a hand injury and has been waiting to return against Brock Lesnar early in 2019.
However, some deals are just too good to pass up on as stated by Cormier when recently speaking to ESPN.
“I didn’t think I was going to fight on this card, but the deal I got was so good. 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.
Counting the Lewis fight, I think I’m down to two fights left. 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. 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.”
Cormier’s plan has been to retire by his 40th birthday which is in March. That gave him enough time for what he hoped to be two more fights which would be against Brock Lesnar and Jon Jones for a trilogy bout.
Obviously, plans have slightly been altered now so it will be interesting to see how things shake out for the double champ.
A question that has been surrounding Cormier since the new fight announcement has been, ‘why not rematch the champion you took the heavyweight title from, Stipe Miocic?’
Well, Cormier answered why.
“I would not have accepted a rematch against Stipe Miocic, he’s too good under these circumstances. 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.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/11/2018