This weekend, Daniel Cormier defends his heavyweight title against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 in Madison Square Garden. Cormier is a heavy favorite to retain his belt, and though he may be focused on the task at hand, the rest of the MMA world is seemingly looking past Lewis to Cormier’s swan song.
Cormier has repeatedly insisted that he will retire from MMA when he turns 40, something that happens in March. That means, following the Lewis fight, Cormier has one final turn in the cage before hanging up the gloves for good. After winning the heavyweight title at UFC 226, all signs pointed to Cormier taking on Lesnar for his final bout. However, last month, Cormier’s bitter rival Jon Jones was deemed eligible to return to MMA following a 15-month suspension, so now a trilogy fight between the two also looms. With one fight left before he calls it quits, the MMA world is desperate to know who Cormier will fight next year, and though Lesnar still seems to have the inside track, Cormier admits that beating Jones would mean more for his legacy, even if it wouldn’t make a huge difference anyway.
“For the legacy, to win against Jones would be better,” Cormier said at the UFC 230 media scrum (video by MMANytt). “But at the end of the day, even if I win the fight, I’m still down 2-1. It doesn’t really change much, he won the series. I’d have to stick around and try to beat him again. If I beat Lesnar, I’m up 1-0. But yes, for legacy, beating Jones because he’s the only guy that beat me in my career. That’s the one that means more for my legacy.”
Cormier and Jones have a history mired in controversy. But after Jones failed an in-competition drug test for their rematch at UFC 214, it looked as if Jones would be suspended for several years and the two would never fight again. Now, Jones is back ahead of schedule but Cormier says he had to move on from that fight and getting back in the mindset would be difficult. Moreover, Cormier seems exhausted of the intertwining of their careers.
“I had to change the mental process in regards to him,” Cormier said. “I had to truly let go of it completely because when he failed that next test I was like, ‘I know I’m done by 40. If everything is what it is, if USADA is what they say they are, I’m never going to get to fight this kid again.’ I had to truly remove myself from anything in regard to him. The reality is, if USADA is what USADA is, you fail the first time and you get a year, if you fail a second time, two years seems like it’s gonna be realistic. At two years, there was never gonna be a way and that’s what has allowed me to kind of move past it.
“We’ll never be friends. We’ll never be cordial. Me saying he’s a good fighter and stuff is probably going to be the extent to which we say pleasant things about each other. Even, he did an interview where he said he was happy for me - I don’t believe that. It’s fine though. He does not have to be happy for me. My accomplishment is my accomplishment. On December 29, if he happens to win the belt, I am not going to be happy for him but his accomplishment does not mean less or more based on my reaction. It’s his. It’s not Daniel and Jon or Jon and Daniel. It’s Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. We are two different people, so our reactions to each others success do not truly matter all that much.”
But before they even could face off against each other, both men have fights to attend to: Cormier with Lewis and Jones with Alexander Gustafsson. At UFC 232 this December, Jones and Gustafsson will have a rematch of their 2013 Fight of the Year, this time for the vacant light heavyweight title that will be stripped from Cormier when the fight takes place. And despite his dislike for Jones, and the situation in general, Cormier believes Jones will beat Gustafsson to reclaim the belt, ensuring that the conversation of him versus Jones continues for a few months longer.
“I think Jones beats Gustafsson,” Cormier said. “I fought them both and with Alexander, outside of that big knee, nothing really hurt or anything. He kneed me in the third round but that was a round I won probably four minutes and 30 seconds of until he landed the knee, that’s why I won the fight. The second round he cut me but he won that round based on the fact that he got takedowns. That was at a time where I fought every takedown so hard that if I ever gave up a takedown, I lost the round.
“He’s a good fighter and he will present challenges to Jones because of his length that I can’t really present Jones with. But I think that Jones is just better. I know that when I’m fighting him, there are a number of things I need to worry about that I didn’t necessarily feel that against Alexander.”
Daniel Cormier takes on Derrick Lewis in the main event of UFC 230 on Saturday evening at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Endorsement. Derrick Lewis has inked sponsorship deal with Popeye’s for UFC 230.
The MMA Beat.
Bonnar’s arrest footage is horrifying.
David Haye with a ton of praise for McGregor.
Weidman challenging Cormier.
Dana on First Take.
Askren gets a cartoon.
MMA Ratings. Discussing UFC 230 and the DJ-Askren trade.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Combined MMA record of 57-4, 2 NC. Not too bad.
Things heating up.
Hmm sounds like Derrick might chicken out https://t.co/UjxEMeCDl8— Carl’s Jr. / Daniel Cormier fan account (@CarlsJr) November 2, 2018
why wait til after you win? DMs are open DC let’s shake this out— Carl’s Jr. / Daniel Cormier fan account (@CarlsJr) November 2, 2018
had our fingers crossed for a shout-out on Thursday Night Football just now not gonna lie— Carl’s Jr. / Daniel Cormier fan account (@CarlsJr) November 2, 2018
Cormier is really living his best life.
Great time on NFL Thursday night football talking to @michaelstrahan Howie Long and the great Terry Bradshaw. Thanks to @foxsports for having me. 1 more day to #andstill media done. DC #ufc230 pic.twitter.com/bhwAiivPuV— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) November 2, 2018
And he’s still a great dad.
Not sure if anyone spoke to Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) about this at media day, but his manager and coach Bob Cook told me he found time to take his kids trick-or-treating in NY last night. After 13 hours of media earlier in the week, and a title fight coming up Saturday.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 1, 2018
But he may be scared.
For the record, @dc_mma ran from me when I threw $5k cash on the table to face off with me in Madden!!!Double champ is scared!!!!— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) November 1, 2018
Talking trash about a guy who KO’d you inside of 5 minutes is a bad look.
Woodley wants in.
Stellar group outfit.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2001: Matt Hughes became the UFC welterweight champion, knocking out Carlos Newton with a slam at UFC 34. It was a controversial ending however, as Hughes also appear to go unconscious from a triangle choke. In the main event that evening, Randy Couture stopped Pedro Rizzo to retain the UFC heavyweight title.
2013: Eddie Alvarez reclaimed the Bellator lightweight title with a split decision win over Michael Chandler at Bellator 106. It was Alvarez’s last fight in Bellator before joining the UFC. Also that evening, Daniel Strauss won the featherweight title with a unanimous decision win over Pat Curran, and Emanuel Newton claimed the interim light heavyweight title with a unanimous decision over Muhammed Lawal.
If Derrick Lewis pulls off the upset, things are gonna get wild.
Thanks for reading and see y’all on Monday!
Who wins tomorrow night?
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