Report: Cormier vs. Lewis Official for UFC 230 at MSG

On the heels of his incredible victory on Saturday, Derrick Lewis will be fighting Daniel Cormier in just a month for the UFC Heavyweight Championship at Madison Square Garden.

Per Brett Okamoto of ESPN, the fight between Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis is official for UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden.  Despite both men saying in the past week that they were uninterested or unavailable for the date, the bout comes together after backlash over Valentina Shevchenko and Sijara Eubanks being announced as the headliner.

Last week, Daniel Cormier went on The Helwani Show and said that he was unavailable to fight until 2019 as he was still recovering from issues with his hand stemming from the fight against Stipe Miocic in July.  Cormier expressed that his hand was taking “longer than usual” to heal and that he was still unable to completely close his fist.  Cormier had previously been attached to a fight with Brock Lesnar as soon as January when Lesnar’s suspension was up and he had completed the six month testing period by required by USADA.  He also stated that while he was focused on the Lesnar bout, the UFC was looking to strip him of the light-heavyweight title so that it could be on the line for the rumored fight between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustaffson in December.

Derrick Lewis is just three days removed from an emphatic come from behind victory against Alexander Volkov on Saturday.  After being en route to losing a unanimous decision, Lewis scored a knockout victory in the final eleven seconds.  He subsequently took social media by storm, removing his fight shorts inside the cage and telling Joe Rogan the now viral comment “My balls was hot.”

Lewis shot down talk of a title shot following the bout, acknowledging his struggle with cardio.  In an interview with Ariel Helwani, he also discussed that he had injured a finger on is left hand while warming up for the fight backstage.  Despite this, he also mentioned that he was open to fighting once more before year’s end.  Undoubtedly, the UFC may also feel there may never be a better time to capitalize on the surge in popularity of Lewis who jumped from 100,000 followers to over a million on social media following UFC 229.

While the UFC had announced Valentina Shevchenko vs Sijara Eubanks as the main event last week, it would appear that the promotion felt that a more drastic move was necessary to bolster the event which led to the Cormier vs Lewis bout coming together.  Furthermore, Okamoto also reports that Valentina Shevchenko will be moved back to the UFC 231 bout for her originally scheduled bout with Joanna Jędrzejczyk.

More on this story as it develops.