What matchmaking problems can’t be solved by a few zeroes?
Lewis also mentioned his opinion might change if the UFC sweetened the pot with a little extra cash.
Just a few hours later, UFC President Dana White confirmed to ESPN.com that, wouldn’t you know it, a fight between Lewis and Cormier is set for the Nov. 3 pay-per-view event, which takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Lewis’ management subsequently tweeted confirmation of the matchup, which caps a crazy turn of events for “The Black Beast” over the past three days. And the UFC formally announced it later in the evening.
Lewis was by all measures headed to a unanimous decision loss at UFC 229 against ex-Bellator champ Alexander Volkov. Battered around the cage and clearly exhausted, Lewis at times appeared as though he might collapse. But he stuck in the fight and managed to land a Hail Mary hook that sent Volkov crashing to the canvas just 11 seconds before the final bell.
Lewis then sent the crowd into stitches by removing his fight shorts and conducting one of the funniest post-win interviews in octagon history. It was quite the turnaround not only in the fight, but from a lackluster decision win over Francis Ngannou.
Today on MMAjunkie Radio, Lewis joked that he was too heavy to make the 265-pound limit for his title opportunity. But he later said he remains in the 270-pound range.
Cormier was thought to be waiting for a 2019 heavyweight title challenge from Brock Lesnar, a bout proposal that came just after he won the belt to go along with his light heavyweight title when he finished Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 in Las Vegas.
UFC 230 also has gone through some hiccups. With no main event announced until recently, the UFC pulled a planned women’s vacant flyweight title fight between former strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko for later in the year and instead booked Shevchenko vs. Sijara Eubanks for the flyweight belt at UFC 230.
But now it appears that fight is off, and Shevchenko-Jedrzejczyk is back on for UFC 231, according to ESPN.com.
The latest UFC 230 lineup now includes:
Daniel Cormier vs. Derrick Lewis
Nate Diaz vs. Dustin Poirier
Luke Rockhold vs. Chris Weidman
David Branch vs. Ronaldo Souza
Israel Adesanya vs. Derek Brunson
Jack Marshman vs. Karl Roberson
Jason Knight vs. Jordan Rinaldi
Matt Frevola vs. Lando Vannata
Julio Arce vs. Sheymon Moraes
Sultan Aliev vs. Lyman Good
Shane Burgos vs. Kurt Holobaugh
Brian Kelleher vs. Domingo Pilarte