Daniel Cormier is set to defend his UFC Heavyweight Championship against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230, and isn’t that just a little bit bizarre? We can understand the logic from the promotion’s point of view given that they didn’t have a suitable main event for their third annual Madison Square Garden show, and when you consider the fact that Nate Diaz vs Dustin Poirier isn’t happening anymore, it was probably a smart move.
For what it’s worth we definitely think Derrick Lewis has earned this opportunity because nine wins in 10 fights is a rarity in the heavyweight division. Still, when it comes to Cormier, it feels like he may have been slightly forced into a corner here.
As we all know DC has been dealing with a hand injury stemming from his UFC 226 triumph over Stipe Miocic, and we were led to believe that he’d be out until 2019 as a result of it. Now, however, even after admitting that his hand isn’t at 100%, he’ll be fighting one of the most dangerous knockout artists in all of the mixed martial arts.
It’s no secret that the UFC have been badgering him to vacate his Light Heavyweight Championship, too, which will happen officially when Jon Jones squares off against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232. So then, given that Cormier’s plan is to retire in March, we have to wonder whether he’s a little bit frustrated by how things have gone.
It’s almost as if this is the MMA equivalent of Michael Scofield trying to break Lincoln Burrows out of Fox River: all of the pieces were in place, but he didn’t take the variables into account. For Cormier, the variables happen to be a string of different contenders vying for his titles at two different weight classes.
Ever since 226, he’s wanted to fight Brock Lesnar in what would be an incredibly lucrative fight for Daniel, and if all goes well, that’ll still happen. Unfortunately, he also wanted to defend his 205-pound championship too before hanging up his gloves, and that seems unlikely now after he claimed that he’s ‘moved on’ from the Jon Jones rivalry.
We’re not sure how much we believe that, but in any case, it seems as if the set March date is going to be pushed back one way or another. Cormier is a warrior at heart and that fire is still burning bright, and while it would take something big for him to stay on past his 40th birthday, there are a series of different possibilities that meet the criteria.