One of the narratives tied to UFC 230 has been that Daniel Cormier may be looking past Derrick Lewis, even though the champ-champ insists he’s not. Well, “DC’s” latest comments about the heavyweight contender seem to back up the heavyweight champ’s claims.
Since Cormier wasn’t expected to fight until 2019, against Brock Lesnar, and because he’s been dealing with a hand injury, his short notice addition to UFC 230 came as a surprise. So much so, some observers have argued that Cormier was willing to take the fight, under less than ideal circumstances, because he believes he’ll cruise through Lewis. Even the latter has argued that Cormier’s looking past him.
Well, Cormier has said that’s not the case, and at the open workouts, he had this to say about Lewis (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I believe he trains a lot harder than [he says],” Cormier said. “I believe he’s not really as hurt as he pretends to be when he’s against the side of the Octagon. Derrick is a little smarter than you guys think. But the problem is he’s smart in a way that you learn when you grow up in urban areas. He’s kind of got a little more street smarts. But I grew up in those same places. I can see through his facade.
“He’s not a dummy. This guy knows what he’s doing. He’s trying to trick us all, but don’t think that Derrick Lewis is some ignorant guy.”
“This is a guy that went to jail as a youth and honestly when you go to prison as a kid, especially a young black kid, a lot of people give up on you,” Cormier said. “In that cell, you tell yourself a lot of things. You say, ‘I’m gonna do better when I get out.’ I’m gonna be this and I’m gonna be that. And the vast majority of the guys who do say those things, they never change. They go back and do the same thing. Derrick Lewis didn’t, right? Derrick Lewis became a millionaire. Derrick Lewis is fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world. There’s something different about him and that’s why I know what’s in front of me this weekend.
Does that sound like a guy who’s going to fight recklessly on Saturday night? Or a fighter who hasn’t trained properly, because he believes Lewis isn’t a threat? No. No it doesn’t.
Now, sure, none of this means that Cormier isn’t feeling extremely confident about his chances against Lewis. After all, Cormier has a comprehensive offense, on account of his wrestling and striking, and his conditioning is typically of the charts. This also doesn’t mean, however, that Lewis can’t end Cormier’s reign as champ, and spoil his showdown with Lesnar.
UFC 230 will be hosted by Madison Square Garden in New York City.