Daniel Cormier. Photo: Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)
Reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs in at 264 pounds, is a formidable opponent for any fighter.
The American Kickboxing Academy captain will defend his undisputed championship against the monstrous Derrick Lewis in the UFC 230 main event on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. Meanwhile, former middleweight champion Chris Weidman returns to the Octagon for the first time in more than a year when he battles Ronaldo Souza in the three-round co-headliner at 185 pounds.
An NCAA All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University who went on to become a two-time Olympian, Cormier has established himself as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all-time. The 39-year-old Lafayette, Louisiana, native last appeared at UFC 226 on July 7, when he knocked out Stipe Miocic, captured the heavyweight crown and joined Conor McGregor as the only fighters in the promotion’s history to hold titles in two weight classes simultaneously; Cormier also occupies the light heavyweight throne. Wins over Anthony Johnson (twice), Anderson Silva, Alexander Gustafsson, Dan Henderson, Frank Mir and Josh Barnett anchor the “DC” resume.
Lewis has emerged as one of the most-talked-about fighters in the sport through a combination of devastating knockout power, a flair for the dramatic, and his self-deprecating humor. He enters the cage as a significant underdog despite his current three-fight winning streak. Lewis, 33, last competed at UFC 229 on Oct. 6, when he snatched victory from the jaws of certain defeat with a Hail Mary knockout against former Bellator MMA champion Alexander Volkov. “The Black Beast” has secured 18 of his 21 career wins by knockout or technical knockout.
UFC 230 “Cormier vs. Lewis” — which airs live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT — also features a trio of middleweight clashes, as David Branch meets Jared Cannonier, Karl Roberson faces Jack Marshman and Derek Brunson confronts Israel Adesanya. Fox Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) and UFC Fight Pass (6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT) will share coverage of the eight-fight undercard. Among the matches of intrigue: Sijara Eubanks vs. Roxanne Modafferi, Julio Arce vs. Sheymon Moraes, Lando Vannata vs. Matt Frevola and Adam Wieczorek vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
While relatively quiet, the regional mixed martial arts scene has a nice little nugget to offer hardcore fans, as Dinis Paiva locks horns with Tony Gravely for the vacant CES MMA bantamweight title in the CES 53 headliner on Friday at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island. The event airs live on AXS-TV at 9 p.m. ET.