Light heavyweight Ilir Latifi To Daniel Cormier: Defend Or Vacate The Strap
After sealing a historic win over Stipe Miocic and scores a heavyweight title at UFC 226, Cormier getting called out by several fighters in both divisions.
Earlier middleweight contender Yoel Romero started his campaign to have his debut at 205-pounds to fight Cormier for a light heavyweight title, the Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson wants Cormier to vacate the belt if he plans to stay at the heavyweight division. Further, Miocic is also seeking a rematch with a two-division champion. Ilir Latifi (ranked No. 4) also join the bandwagon, call for a light heavyweight title fight against Daniel Cormier.
Cormier who is expected to defend his heavyweight strap against WWE star Brock Lesnar by early next year and to wait on sidelines for Lesnar to clear all his drug tests administered by USADA.
Latifi who earlier call for a shot against Cormier at LHW, reminds ‘DC’ again that either defend the title or vacate it so that the next contender can fight for the crown. Latifi also feels Cormier’s days at light heavyweight is over as ‘DC’ seeing money fights only at the moment. (Via ESPN)
“Honestly, I don’t think he’s going to come down anymore. I think he’s playing around, seeing what money fights he can make. I understand that in a way, but something needs to happen at 205. There are guys who want that shot at a title or interim title.
“He says a lot of things. He’s said he’ll fight me. I told him to be a man of his word and do it. If he’s looking for more comfortable fights, he shouldn’t be champ.”
Lesnar is currently under USADA testing pool, has to serve remaining months of suspension to be cleared to fight Cormier.
Cormier, already declared that he had a plan to retire from MMA by his 40th birthday and would take two more fights. He also teased to defend his 205-pound strap but wants to accept fights that have the potential to draw at the box office.
Latifi said he doesn’t believe Cormier will defend the LHW strap. ‘DC’s’ formal rival Jon Jones also hinting to return to UFC by the end of this year, who has plans to get his title back from Cormier once he’s back. “The Sledgehammer” thinks Cormier will not return at light heavyweight to fight Jones either.
“I heard Jon Jones is coming back this year. Rumors, you know?” Latifi said. “You see what he’s posting on social media, you get an indication he’s getting back. Let’s see. I don’t think Cormier fights Jon Jones again. I see Alex [Gustafsson] fighting Jon, but if not, I would love to fight Jon, too.”
From all angles and the current situation shows Cormier has no plans to return to 205-pound to defend the title. Latifi believes if that’s the case dual champion should vacate the tile and let the division move forward.
“Either he comes down and defends against me this year, or they have to make an interim title or force him to step down from the title,” Latifi said. “It’s only fair. I think what he’s done for the sport is great, and he’s a great champion, but it’s a new time now.”
What do you think Cormier will defend his LHW title? Or do you think he may have plans but keeping it secret or looking out any easy fight at 205-pound?