After winning the heavyweight title at UFC 226, Daniel Cormier was immediately thrust into position to defend his newly won belt against Brock Lesnar when Lesnar is eligible to return to MMA in January. However, now it sounds like that fight may be in jeopardy from Cormier himself.
Cormier has maintained for awhile now that he intends to retire in March when he turns 40 years old, and it appeared Lesnar would serve as the perfect swan song for “DC”. But with Jon Jones set to return to MMA at the end of the year, and with Cormier recently accepting a short-notice title defense against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230, it appears that Lesnar may not be his last fight. Speaking recently with ESPN, Cormier revealed that he only has one fight left on his UFC contract after the Derrick Lewis title defense and he would prefer his retirement fight be a third crack at Jon Jones.
“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.”
When it was announced that Jones would be eligible to return to MMA after a 15-month USADA suspension for his second failed drug test, the public widely assumed that the UFC would look to book Jones-Cormier III at the earliest possible convenience, possibly for UFC 230. However, Cormier had a hand injury which prevented him from taking any fights originally. But, as the November 3rd date got closer and the UFC still needed a marquee headliner for their return to Madison Square Garden, Cormier says they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“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.”
Lewis himself is coming in on short notice as well, having just competed at UFC 229 last weekend, where, after staging a Comeback of the Year knockout, Lewis admitted his cardio wasn’t good enough for a title fight. Cormier seems to agree, admitting that part of what was appealing about the offer from the UFC was the opponent they had in mind. Had the UFC wanted him to fight former champions Stipe Miocic or Jon Jones, Cormier would have balked at accepting such a fight on a few week’s notice. Lewis, however, is another, more beatable animal.
“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 is the current UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion. He will, however, be stripped of his light heavyweight title when Jones faces Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 on Dec. 29. Should things go according to plan at UFC 230, Cormier will then have his choice between fighting the winner of that fight or Brock Lesnar early next year.
Ultimatum. Khabib Nurmagomedov to UFC: If you cut my teammate, ‘you’ll lose me too’.
Hero. Nate Diaz’s solution to Khabib Nurmagomedov teammate drama: Fire me instead.
2.4M. UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor destroys previous MMA record for pay-per-views.
Coker. Scott Coker talks Fedor vs. Chael, UFC 229 brawl, Rory MacDonald,and more.
-300. Jon Jones opens as heavy betting favorite over Alexander Gustafsson in rematch.
Bellator Preview Show.
Behind the scenes before UFC 229.
These guys needs a buddy cop show, stat.
The MMA Beat. Discussing The Brawl and Bellator’s upcoming doubleheader.
The Fighter and the Kid. Discussing Khabib, Conor, and polygraph tests.
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I would like to address @ufc Why didn’t you fire anyone when their team attacked the bus and injured a couple of people? They could have killed someone there, why no one says anything about insulting my homeland, religion, nation, family? Why do you have to punish my team, when both teams fought. If you say that I started it, then I do not agree, I finished what he had started. In any case, punish me, @zubairatukhugov has nothing to do with that. If you think that I’ll keep silent then you are mistaken. You canceled Zubaira’s fight and you want to dismiss him just because he hit Conor. But don’t forget that it was Conor who had hit my another Brother FIRST, just check the video. if you decide to fire him, you should know that you’ll lose me too. We never give up on our brothers in Russia and I will go to the end for my Brother. If you still decide to fire him, don’t forget to send me my broken contract, otherwise I’ll break it myself. And one more thing, you can keep my money that you are withholding. You are pretty busy with that, I hope it won’t get stuck in your throat. We have defended our honor and this is the most important thing. We intend to go to the end. #Brothers
We don’t deserve Nate.
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) October 11, 2018
For real though, Conor could’ve led the charge but Khabib might end up doing it.
Seriously, he’s the biggest star in the UFC not named Conor McGregor.
Damn, man. “It’s only business” is some broken man stuff right there.
My favorite thing is when dudes get bolted in a round and then talk trash.
Fair play, this is good.
Why don’t we do like you said to Kevin Lee? I put 100k you put 100k I can go to your gym or you come to my, we jump in the cage with no time whoever walks out take the 200k #yourmove
— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) October 11, 2018
If you beat Conor, you get a mural. It’s now a thing.
You sign Eddie Alvarez or I quit.
— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) October 12, 2018
Small setbacks happen.. I’m flying out to LA next week to get a second opinion on my injury and I’ll have an idea of when I can return to compete, I can’t wait to get back in the Octagon!!
Thank you all for the support
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) October 11, 2018
Gary Tonon (2-0) vs. Sung Jong Lee (4-2); ONE Championship; Nov. 9
Michael Chandler (18-4) vs. Brent Primus (8-0); Bellator 212, Dec. 14.
Frank Mir (18-12) vs. Javy Ayala (10-7); Bellator 212, Dec. 14.
Alejandra Lara (7-2) vs. Juliana Vasquez (7-0); Bellator 212, Dec. 14.
Sergio Pettis (17-4) vs. Rob Font (15-4); UFC on FOX 31; Dec. 15.
2006: Hermes Franca submitted Nate Diaz with an armbar to retain his lightweight title at WEC 24.
2012: Eddie Alvarez knocked out Patricky Freire with a head kick at Bellator 76.
Here’s a fun fact: by the time Cormier is stripped of his light heavyweight title, he will have reigned 1316 days, just 185 days short of Jon Jones’ reign. That’s how big Jon messed up. 1300 days worth.
It’s not all that often we get a Bellator doubleheader weekend with nary a peep from the UFC. It’ll be interesting to see if Bellator is able to draft off the success of UFC 229 at all. Probably not but you never know.
Here’s to hoping Pride doesn’t die this weekend. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the reading and see y’all on Monday!
Who wins this weekend?
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