It was barely a month before fight night when the UFC finalized its headliner fight for UFC 230. But apparently, the main event bout between Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis almost did fall through.
During the post-fight media scrum on early Sunday morning, it was revealed that the near mishap happened on the champ’s side of things.
“Sometimes I go into the octagon, and I hear in the build-up, ‘When is this guy going to get old?’” Cormier said (transcript via MMA Fighting). “It could happen overnight. I thought it happened this morning when I sneezed, and I slipped my back out. Seriously. We got some pictures that we may release later in the week. I sneezed, and because I sneezed, my back slipped out. I tried to do my morning run and it wasn’t happening.”
“At around 12 or 1 o’clock it was to the point where I was kind of singed over and leaning and Bob Cook said, ‘If you don’t get better, then we’re going to have to make a decision on whether or not you’re going to fight.’ It was real close.”
The 39-year-old Cormier said he did feel his age the most when it happened, but was able to shake it off after relaxing himself for a bit.
“I said, ‘If you let me take a nap, I’ll see if I feel better,’” said Cormier. “So I woke up and went for a walk, and when I went for a walk and got active, my back started to release a little bit. So it was very scary because I had no idea how we were going to explain that one. I was like, ‘I don’t know how we’re going to explain this, when I sneezed and hurt my back.’ That’s getting old. That’s what that is.”
“DC” was successful in his maiden title defense with a first-round submission win over Lewis. He also made history by becoming the first fighter in the UFC to defend the two titles that are held simultaneously.