A fight that UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier said would not happen because he ‘can’t beat Cain Velasquez’ is happening.
News arrived from the UFC tonight that Cormier will coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) against heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and the two will fight at July 7’s UFC 226 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Cormier successfully defended his reclaimed title with a second-round TKO over Volkan Oezdemir in the main event of last weekend’s UFC 220 from Boston, Massachusetts, a card where Miocic broke the UFC record for most consecutive heavyweight title defenses at three with a dominant five-round decision win over hyped contender Francis Ngannou.
Talk after UFC 220 was that Miocic may face Cormier’s AKA teammate Cain Velasquez, who is rumored to be making his return sometime soon, and Cormier was linked to a rematch with top contender Alexander Gustafsson – even if UFC president Dana White teased a Miocic vs. Cormier superfight.
But with “The Mauler” still healing from a recent surgery and the UFC perhaps not keen on the idea of booking Velasquez in another main event after yet another two-year absence from the octagon, they instead chose to book the biggest fight they could for both divisions by pitting the two champs against one another for the heavyweight title.
It’s an interesting pairing considering Cormier was given the title back after losing to archrival Jon Jones by third-round KO in the main event of last July’s UFC 214, only to see “Bones” fail for yet another head-scratching issue with performance-enhancing drugs and have his belt stripped. If Jones had tested clean, he could very well be facing Miocic for the chance to become the fifth two-weight titleholder in UFC history and the second concurrent two-weight champion of all-time.
Instead, it’ll be Cormier, who’s paid his dues over a grueling combat sports career and could cement his spot as one of the greatest fighters in UFC history, but he’ll have to get through the upcoming season of TUF 27, which will feature undefeated lightweights and featherweights.
The finals of the show will take place the day before UFC 226 on July 6, 2018.