NEW YORK — Derrick Lewis thinks he has an idea why his main event title shot came together.
“The Black Beast” said Wednesday at UFC 230 open workouts at Madison Square Garden that he believes Cormier is “scared” to fight Jon Jones, which is why Cormier tabbed Lewis for his first heavyweight title defense.
“The reason I think he took the fight with me is because Jon Jones was already fighting,” Lewis said. “He didn’t want to wait until January and hear all the media talk about, ‘Why is Cormier not fighting for the 205 belt?’ They’re already saying he’s basically scared to fight Jones right now, anyway. He feels like it would be perfect to fight a guy like me that don’t have as much skills on short notice before the Jones fight and he thinks it’s going to be an easy fight for him.”
Jones, of course, will fight for the UFC light heavyweight title against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas. As soon as that fight begins, Cormier will be stripped of the light heavyweight belt that he currently holds. However, Cormier has said if he loses the heavyweight title to Lewis, he could drop back down and defend his 205-pound title again. The whole thing is muddled.
Lewis thinks one thing is clear, though — Cormier isn’t really down to fight Jones again for the third time. Jones beat him in 2015 by unanimous decision and then finished him in 2017. The latter was overturned to a no contest when Jones tested positive for a steroid in an in-competition drug test.
“Yeah, I think he’s scared to fight Jones,” Lewis said. “The guy beat him twice.”