Dana White has given his reasoning behind choosing Brock Lesnar as the challenger for heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier’s first title-defence.
UFC 226’s main-event offering was one that will no doubt live long in the memory. The 205lb champion knocking out the baddest man on the planet in a shock first-round stoppage to establish his own claim as the finest mixed martial artist who ever lived.
And there is certainly some validity to that.
Daniel Cormier, at 39-years-old and after a career that has seen him come up short on so many occasions, finally pushed on with his definitive performance to date. You could see it written all over his face. It was the culmination of a lifetime’s work and a testament to the type of athlete and resilient spirit that DC is.
Taking the mic from Joe Rogan in the fight’s immediate aftermath, he called for a matchup with the former-heavyweight champion and WWE superstar Brock Lesnar.
The entire sequence and the minor ‘scuffle’ that followed certainly had a very WWE-esque feel about it but if we’re to believe the words of the UFC president Dana White during his post-fight presser – this is the next matchup on the UFC’s agenda.
“We’re definitely gonna make that fight. Lesnar hit me up a couple days ago and said, ‘Sorry I went dark on you but I had some stuff I had to take care of. I’m gonna come to the fight this weekend.’ Okay, see you Saturday.
“He came here tonight, he was all fired up, if you couldn’t tell. Right when he got to my seat on the side, he was acting like a lunatic. He was fired up and excited for this fight. His gut told him Stipe because he felt that Cormier put too much weight on for this fight and he thought it was gonna affect him. It didn’t.”
Of course, many expressed their outrage at the fact that Lesnar – a fighter who has a somewhat patchy record with USADA – has been offered a shot at the belt.
White, however, no doubt seeing the potentially lucrative nature of this matchup – diverted attention away from the roided-up elephant in the room and defended the decision.
“He’s free and clear to do this fight. He and Vince [McMahon] have a good relationship and he’s not gonna do anything to piss Vince off. I don’t know the specifics but he’s good.
“People are gonna criticize us no matter what we do. Brock came in, he popped for that thing, but he beat Mark Hunt who was one of the top guys. He’s a former world champion, it’s a fight that people want to see, and it’s definitely a fight that Cormier wants. Cormier wants that fight.”
For Cormier, who has never once shied away from even the most dangerous of opponents, giving him this fight as a means of growing his star-power and bank account would be a fair late-career gift from the promotion but, of course, the idea of Brock Lesnar walking into a UFC title fight isn’t exactly ideal, all things considered.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena