As announced this week, Daniel Cormier will now be headlining UFC 230 November 3rd at Madison Square Garden when he defends his heavyweight championship against Derrick Lewis. After the UFC announced the now scrapped Valentina Shevchenko vs. Sijara Eubanks bout, this new main event came as a big surprise to the MMA world. Daniel Cormier was among those who were not expecting a world title match at the event. So what changed?
“I didn’t think I was going to fight on this card, but the deal I got was so good,” Cormier said in an interview with ESPN. “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.”
Daniel Cormier has been consistent in stating that he has his retirement set for March of 2019 and that he saw two potential fights remaining: Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar, in no particular order. But now that Cormier has accepted a fight with Derrick Lewis, does that change his retirement plans?
“Counting the Lewis fight, I think I’m down to two fights left,” Cormier said. “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.”
One notable name that is missing from this conversation is Stipe Miocic, who expressed a willingness to fight Daniel Cormier at UFC 230. While Cormier did not state whether or not he was offered Miocic for UFC 230, he was very clear on whether or not he would have faced Stipe Miocic on three weeks’ notice:
“I would not have accepted a rematch against Stipe Miocic,” Cormier stated frankly. “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.”
What do you think of Daniel Cormier’s rationale for accepting the Derrick Lewis fight while being set against Stipe Miocic at UFC 230?