Daniel Cormier is currently holding two of UFC's top championship titles, and one of the company's biggest stars believes he has just as many fights left before his scheduled retirement date. Cormier said Thursday that he expects his heavyweight title defense against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 on Nov. 3 in New York will be his penultimate bout as a mixed martial artist.
"Counting the Lewis fight, I think I'm down to two fights left," Cormier told ESPN's Brett Okamoto. "Maybe this will be a blessing in disguise, the fact that I don't have a crazy, long fight camp to beat myself down. That may prolong it for me, but right now, I think I have this one and maybe one more. I can still fight in March and hit my retirement date."
Should Cormier (21-1, 10 KOs) defeat Lewis (21-5, 18 KOs), it is expected that he will defend his heavyweight title once more against Brock Lesnar, the current WWE superstar and former UFC heavyweight champion training for a return to the Octagon in the spring of 2019. Another option would be the winner of Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, who will square off for Cormier's soon-to-be-vacated light heavyweight title at UFC 232 on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas.
While Cormier wants revenge on Jones after suffering consecutive defeats against him (the latter of which was later made a no contest due to Jones' failed test for use of a performance-enhancing drug), Jones has previously stated that he has no desire to fight Cormier again after beating him twice. The payday of Cormier-Lesnar should greatly exceed a Cormier-Jones III fight, something of which Cormier is well aware.
"The one that would mean more financially would be Lesnar. I think I would always pick the one that means more [Jones], but my wife might have something to say about that," he said.
Cormier, 39, admitted that the payday offered by president Dana White to turnaround on such short notice and fight Lewis was simply too great to refuse. Not only will Cormier train for the fight with a short camp (less than a month's notice), he is recovering from a hand injury suffered when he defeated Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight crown in July. Cormier said that will be all healed up by the time he reenters the Octagon.
Cormier opened as a massive 9-1 favorite against Lewis, who knocked out Alexander Volkov in what was deemed the performance of the night at UFC 229 on Saturday. Lewis, who is not known for his endurance and conditioning, will be turning around even quicker than Cormier for this bout. Lewis also competed at UFC 226 where he earned a decision win over Francis Ngannou.