Derrick Lewis faces the biggest fight of his career on Saturday night when he challenges Daniel Cormier for the heavyweight title at UFC 230. The 39-year-old had been expected to meet Brock Lesnar at the beginning of 2019, but the UFC was in a bind and Cormier took the opportunity.
Surely a title shot was the next obvious move for Lewis, a notion put to him in the post-fight interview by Joe Rogan.
The UFC returns with its next pay-per-view offering Saturday, Nov. 3, with UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden in NY. Cormier will be stripped of his light heavyweight title and the 205-pound crown will go to the victor of the Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson bout at UFC 232 on December 29 in Las Vegas.
Cormier (21-1, 1 no-contest) fights for now as both the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champ, though his days as a dual champion are numbered no matter the outcome against Lewis.
The main card on pay-per-view can be purchased for $64.99. Plus, the allure of putting his name on the top of the marquee for a title defense at MSG appealed to his ego. Cormier said. "Thank you for blessing me Dana White, I thought I was just getting one". I think it's a blessing in disguise that I've been training this long (back-to-back camps) because I wouldn't be in the shape I'm in now if I took some time off.
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For all his Instagram antics, Lewis maintains that he is taking this fight serious, and that's all that matters to him. It's so easy to say, 'This guy's one of the greatest and this guy's one of the greatest, ' but they never fight each other. The second bout past year was changed to a no-contest when Jones failed a doping test that kept him out of the sport for 15 months.
Come Sunday, Lewis could be eating free Popeyes chicken for life.
Cormier retaliated in the fast-food fight by throwing his weight behind burger joint Carl's Jr. At 251.2 pounds, this is the heaviest that champion Cormier has weighed in his combined UFC/ Strikeforce career.
Cormier is nearly guaranteed the biggest paycheck of his career to face Lesnar, who has always been one of the most profitable fighters when it comes to pay-per-views.