Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is going to keep the heavyweight strap on ice for the foreseeable future, because the plan is to preserve a 265-pound title fight pitting reigning division champion, Daniel Cormier, against ex-division kingpin, Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar is presently enrolled in the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) comeback program, which requires six-months of clean testing for an athlete returning from retirement. Sorry, no exceptions this time around (especially after this).
In addition, Cormier is currently rehabbing injuries after a busy 2018 fight campaign, one that saw him emerge victorious in three title fights spread across two separate divisions. Lesnar, meanwhile, is finishing up his commitments in pro wrestling.
“The UFC wants [Lesnar] back, as of right now he wants to be back, they’re giving him a heavyweight title fight if he comes back,” ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani said on SportsCenter. “Daniel Cormier, the heavyweight champion, wants to fight him. Right now, the plan is for them to fight in August, later this summer, for that heavyweight championship. It’s not signed just yet, but that’s currently the plan.”
The heavyweight division is unlikely to suffer from the delay. Francis Ngannou and Junior Dos Santos, ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the official rankings (see them here), are expected to fight at UFC 239 in July. Sure, Stipe Miocic, ranked No. 1, won’t get his long-desired rematch, but nobody likes him anyway.