UFC champion Daniel Cormier has insisted he’s not looking past Derrick Lewis, but his Bellator counterpart, Ryan Bader, believes “DC” is feeling, very, very confident heading into UFC 230.
When it was confirmed that Lewis is going to challenge the heavyweight champ on November 3rd, the news turned heads throughout MMA. That’s because Cormier is expected to face Brock Lesnar in early 2019, and in addition, “DC” reported he was dealing with a hand injury. Then, of course, there was also the fact the bout was announced just days after Lewis defeated Alexander Volkov on October 6th.
Well, since Cormier has agreed to face Lewis on short notice, and with a hand that’s apparently less than 100%, there’s been talk the champ might be underestimating the feared slugger. Cormier has denied that’s the case, but while speaking with MMA Junkie recently, Bader had this take on the situation:
“I think Derrick Lewis is funny, the whole deal, I like his personality, I like his post-fight speeches and all that kind of stuff,” Bader said. “But I really think this could be Cormier’s easiest fight in a long, long time. I see Cormier going out there, jabbing him in the face a few times, hitting the outside single, putting Derrick on his butt and it’s going to be game over, pretty much.
“That’s why we saw Cormier take this fight, even though he’s got a hurt hand, even though it’s a month away. He’s like, ‘Wait, I get to go out there, put my heavyweight title on the line and fight a guy who just said that he doesn’t even deserve to be in a title fight? That he’s tired and can’t go five rounds? Of course Cormier’s going to do that. I actually think Cormier’s going to run away with that, for sure.”
Bader’s certainly not the only person who’s opined that Cormier is going to be a heavy, heavy favorite when he faces Lewis at UFC 230. As Bader noted, “DC” has more offensive tools than Lewis, and conditioning has never been an issue for Cormier.
Does anyone of this mean that Cormier’s not going to train hard for the bout? Or act recklessly against Lewis? You would think not. After all, Lewis is a ridiculously, dangerous fighter with a ton of heart, as we saw against Volkov. And is Cormier underestimating Lewis? It’s doubtful. But would he have agreed to fight, say Jon Jones at UFC 230? With an abbreviated camp, a hand injury, and the potential to punt his bout with Lesnar next year?
UFC 230 will be hosted by Madison Square Garden in New York City.