NEW YORK — For all of the fear surrounding Derrick Lewis’ big right hand, UFC two-division champion Daniel Cormier made sure not to give him a chance to use it.
In a clinical performance which badly exposed the gap in class and technical ability between the two fighters, Cormier made the first defense of his heavyweight title on Saturday via second-round submission in the main event of UFC 230.
Despite getting booed each by the Madison Square Garden faithful each time he took the fan-favorite Lewis down, Cormier continued to maul and grind until “The Black Beast” finally exposed his back and instantly tapped out via rear-naked choke at 2:14 of Round 2.
Cormier (22-1, 1 NC), who joined Conor McGregor in July by becoming just the second fighter in UFC history to hold two world titles simultaneously, became the first fighter to defend both.
“Two belts, one on each shoulder baby!” Cormier said. “Thank you for blessing me Dana White, I thought I was just getting one. Oh boy, look at that!
“It’s history baby! Like my man Jon Anik said, history in the making, Daniel Cormier, one of the greatest of all-time.”
The fight was never in doubt as Lewis (21-6, 1 NC), who entered the Octagon just 28 days after his comeback knockout of Alexander Volkov, proved remedial in his takedown defense and ground game against the former Olympian in Cormier. That much wasn’t a surprise, of course, as the 33-year-old Lewis spent weeks filling reporter’s notebooks about how he considers himself only a brawler and not a mixed martial artist.
Outside of a single right hand Lewis landed in Round 2 as Cormier attempted to secure a single-leg takedown, Lewis spent the entire fight on his back, eating short forearms and punches.
“Do you know what surprised me? When I took that last shot, he punched me in the eye on the way in and I was blinking for 30 seconds thinking, ‘What the heck was that?'” Cormier said. “Everything he did was powerful. I love Derrick Lewis, I love his Instagram and was proud to share the Octagon with him.”
Cormier, 39, who continues to pull closer in the debate of G.O.A.T. in MMA history, talked about the difference in levels when it comes to facing him.
“I think a lot of people have to understand that I have been doing this for nine years and I fought at a championship level for eight of them so there are no surprises to me,” Cormier said. “I come here to do my thing. You have to be one of the best fighters in the world to compete and Derrick just wasn’t up to that challenge.”
The easy victory kept alive the likelihood that Cormier’s next fight comes with a career-high payday in a pay-per-view bout against former champion Brock Lesnar in early 2019. Lesnar, 41, will be eligible to return in January upon the completion of his USADA suspension that dates back to a failed drug test at UFC 200 in 2016.
Lesnar, who is currently under contract as a part-time performer with WWE, regained the wrestling promotion’s universal championship on Friday during an event in Saudi Arabia.
“Brock Lesnar, when you come, bring that brand new WWE title because I feel like being a WWE champion too,” Cormier said. “Bring that belt with you if you come to my house.”
CBS Sports was with you for every punch, kick and submission attempt from Madison Square Garden with our live blog below.
UFC 230 card/results
Daniel Cormier (c) def. Derrick Lewis via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
Jacare Souza def. Chris Weidman via third-round TKO (strikes)
Jared Cannonier def. David Branch via second-round TKO (stoppage)
Karl Roberson def. Jack Marshman via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Israel Adesanya def. Derek Brunson via first-round TKO (stoppage)
Jordan Rinaldi def. Jason Knight via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-26)
Sijara Eubanks def. Roxanne Modafferi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Sheymon Moraes def. Julio Arce via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-26)
Lyman Good def. Ben Saunders via first-round TKO (strikes)
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