A few dozen hours can change a man’s perspective.
Late Saturday night, here’s what Derrick Lewis said to Joe Rogan during his UFC 229 octagon account afterwards his improvement knockout of Alexander Volkov: “I ain’t aggravating to action for no appellation appropriate now, not with no gas catchbasin like that.”
Then came Monday morning and the action to action best Daniel Cormier for the UFC ample appellation at Madison Square Garden in the UFC 230 headliner.
Did Lewis, a day and a bisected afterwards a arduous fight, alternate for alike a few account about accepting a action adjoin one of the top fighters in the action now and in its history?“Not at all,” Lewis told Newsday on Wednesday night. “Not at all. It was appropriate away, because this befalling ability not appear again. … And in Madison Square Garden.”
Cormier bare until Tuesday to be sure. He has been convalescent from a burst duke suffered in his July 7 bender back he agape out Stipe Miocic to win the UFC ample title.
“I went and punched a bag. I went and sparred a little bit. Tried to see if I could do it,” Cormier told Newsday on Thursday. “Once my duke captivated up, I was like OK, ‘I’m gonna accord it a shot.’”
Title shots don’t pop up for every fighter, let abandoned a additional such chance. So three weeks’ apprehension is article Lewis will aloof accept to accord with. He didn’t assume to mind.
“I anticipate it’s absolute because I’m already somewhat in shape,” said Lewis, 33. “They told me aloof in time afore I started partying too hard, and get my weight way up to 300 pounds.”
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Lewis (21-5, 1 no contest) has won three beeline and nine out of his aftermost 10 bouts in the UFC. Seven of those wins during this three-year run were by knockout. Lewis, as he displayed afresh aftermost Saturday adjoin Volkov, has one-punch knockout power.
Still, Lewis will be the underdog adjoin Cormier (21-1, 1 no contest), who reigns now as both the light-heavyweight and ample champion, both in the sportsbooks and in the eyes of those who chase the sport.
Again, Lewis didn’t assume to diaphoresis the allotment about Cormier actuality the 1:6 admired to start.
“I don’t affliction who we angry against, I’m still activity to accept the disadvantage on anyone that I fight,” said Lewis, who lives in Houston. “These guys accept been training aggressive arts apparently all their life, been in some blazon of angry their accomplished life. I’m absolutely a brawler.
“It’ll be an account aloof to footfall in the aforementioned octagon as Daniel anyway. For sure, I’ll be ready.”
Cormier added the ample championship to his ablaze ample belt in the summer. He became the additional action to authority UFC titles in assorted weight classes at the aforementioned time, and aloof the sixth fighter to win UFC titles in added than one division.
With two titles, a atom at or a the top of best pound-for-pound lists, why would Cormier accede to a action on such abbreviate notice, advancing off a burst duke and adjoin addition with the blazon of ability Lewis has?
“Historical importance. Getting to capital accident Madison Square Garden,” Cormier said. “And, honestly, aloof a lot of money. A lot of money. A lot of money and an befalling to capital accident the world’s best acclaimed arena. Those types of things amount to me/.Being able to say that I was the capital accident at the Garden, those things amount to me.”
Cormier additionally had planned on angry Brock Lesnar at some point in 2019, admitting annihilation absolute was scheduled. Cormier additionally has said he planned on backward back he angry 40 aing March and that he additionally wants to action Jon Jones already added to try to avenge his two antecedent losses to him, the additional of which was chaotic to a no challenge afterwards Jones activated absolute for a banned actuality afterwards weigh-ins for UFC 214 in July 2017. (Jones faced a best four-year abeyance by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency afterwards that, but aftermost month, it was beneath to 15 months.)
This will be the third action this year for Cormier, the aboriginal two catastrophe in knockouts.
“This may be absolutely what I charge at this point,” Cormier said. “Maybe I bare to accept a ages of really, absolutely adamantine acute training and again go fight.”
The capital accident for UFC 230 has been article of abundant agitation in the MMA alcove of amusing media. For a brace of months, admirers asked on Twitter who the capital accident would be for the MSG card, a above area for UFC back the action was legalized in New York in 2016. There were about as abounding accounted fights to booty that aperture as there were tweets about who it could be.
Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier campaigned to accomplish their action for a appellation at 165 pounds. The UFC has resisted creating such a division, so that fizzled out. Poirier pulled out of the action with an abrasion on Tuesday, and White told the Los Angeles Times that Diaz would be pulled from the card. No official advertisement has been fabricated about that yet, though.
Then there was Valentina Shevchenko vs. Sijara Eubanks for the abandoned women’s flyweight title. Again came the animadversion on amusing media about that pairing. On Wednesday, the UFC appear Shevchenko would face Joanna Jedrzejczyk for that appellation at UFC 231 aing month, as originally planned, and Eubanks will face Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 230.
Now, it’s Lewis with top announcement adjoin Cormier, the bifold champ and a backstab U.S. Olympic wrestler. On three weeks’ notice. In New York City.
“I was absolute blessed that they gave me the action this early, because I didn’t appetite to wait,” Lewis said. “And additionally I capital to accept a big Christmas for my ancestors while we move into the new home.”
Mark La Monica is the agent sports editor for cross-media at Newsday. He additionally covers alloyed aggressive arts.
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