Daniel Cormier wasn’t expecting to fight so soon. After all, he had been tentatively scheduled to face Brock Lesnar in the first defense of his heavyweight title in early 2019. That would let some nagging injuries heal, and he’d have plenty of time to prepare for the home stretch to retirement.
Then the UFC came to him and offered him a pretty good chunk of change to basically save the UFC 230 card on November 3rd.
Cormier accepted a title defense against Derrick Lewis, who picked up a last-minute win over Alexander Volkov last weekend at UFC 229. While speaking to ESPN, Cormier confirmed that the deal the UFC offered definitely got his attention and led to him signing up for the fight:
“I didn’t think I was going to fight on this card, but the deal I got was so good,” Cormier said. “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.”
He also revealed that he has two fights left on his contract, and he’s looking to fight again in March:
“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.”
Finally, he stated that he would not have accepted a bout with a certain former heavyweight champion this close to the fight date, but based on “The Black Beast” and his skill set, he said yes to this:
“I would not have accepted a rematch against Stipe Miocic on short notice, he’s too good under these circumstances,” Cormier said. “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.”
Cormier and Lewis will headline the UFC 230 card in Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 3rd.