Daniel “DC” Cormier, the current UFC champion at both Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight, fancies his chances against challenger Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 next month, and the betting public are in complete agreement. A Cormier win is being offered at just 1/6 with William Hill, while Ladbrokes and Paddy Power have an even shorter 1/7. Lewis is 4/1 at William Hill and Paddy Power, and 21/4 at Ladbrokes.
The event, to be held at Madison Square on November 3rd, was set to be the biggest mixed martial arts event of the year. However, the failure to secure Jon Jones, the previous Light Heavyweight champion and one of the biggest names in the sport, left the UFC with a very big gap to fill at the top of the card. It scrambled desperately to find a fight of sufficient magnitude, and Cormier and Lewis answered the call.
It is an unusually quick turnaround for both fighters, with Lewis having very little time to train for the fight after his win at UFC 229 on October 7th, a 3rd round knockout of Alexander Volkov.
Cormier recently spoke to ESPN about his decision to take the fight on less than a month’s notice. “I didn’t think I was going to fight on this card, but the deal I got was so good,” he said, that “there was no way I could say no, honestly.”
Lewis is currently ranked as the number 2 contender in the Heavyweight division, behind previous champion Stipe Miocic who was overlooked for the UFC 230 bout. Just as well, as far as Cormier is concerned. “I would not have accepted a rematch against Stipe Miocic on short notice,” he said, “he’s too good under these circumstances.”
DC was careful to offer Lewis respect, but said that though Miocic was capable of winning “in different ways” he thought that Lewis would have to “knock me out to win.”
However, that is a real possibility. Lewis has 18 knockout victories in his career, and holds the joint record for the most knockouts in the history of the UFC heavyweight division.
Whilst Cormier is a legend of the sport, he will be aware that even the best get beaten from time to time. But with incredible knockout power, 4/1 odds of a Lewis win look generous.