The official announcement that Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight and light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier will defend his heavyweight title against Derrick Lewis on Nov. 3 in New York has been met with mixed reactions amongst fans as well as at least one notable fighter.
Cormier has made public his plan to retire from fighting next March and has already lined a fight up for early next year against former UFC champion, World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Brock Lesnar. Cormier accepting the fight against Lewis means that a trilogy fight at light heavyweight with his rival Jon Jones -- who is back from a 15 month-suspension -- most likely will not happen and Cormier has effectively defended his light heavyweight belt for the last time.
Many fans argued that Lewis wasn’t ready for a title shot even after his comeback knockout against Alexander Volkov last weekend. Lewis himself spoke with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan on Saturday night in his post-fight interview, criticizing his own cardio and stating that he was not ready for a title fight. Even if that was an example of Lewis' famously self-effacing manner, most observers agreed that Lewis had been losing the fight badly until the final, fight-ending salvo.
The decision to award Lewis a shot at Cormier’s belt has frustrated the man Cormier beat to capture the heavyweight belt in Stipe Miocic. Miocic, who was the first and so far only man to defend the heavyweight title three times, has been campaigning for a rematch with Cormier ever since his knockout loss to him at UFC 226 in July. "I cleaned out the division," Miocic said in an interview with ESPN in July. "I defended it more than anyone, and you're gonna tell me I don't deserve a chance to get it back? Get out of here. Kiss my ass if you don't think I deserve that."
The 36-year-old said he was in talks with the UFC to save the card on Nov. 3 to be held at Madison Square Garden in New York although he was never presented with the opportunity for a rematch against Cormier.
"I was in talks to offer myself up to headline and help save that card, but I was never offered [Cormier]," Miocic told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. "I would fight [Cormier] anytime, anywhere. I look forward to getting my belt back."
While the UFC 230 card had been building for some time now with some high profile bouts, there was no main event officially announced. Last week there was a plan to headline the card with a female flyweight title fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Sijara Eubanks although that fight was scrapped after the official announcement of Cormier and Lewis.