Daniel Cormier relinquishes LHW title ahead of UFC 232 Jones vs Gustafsson 2

DC: No champion has been more active than me

Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson face off for the second time battling it out for UFC Light Heavyweight title in the headliner of UFC 232 taking place at The Forum in Inglewood, CA. on Dec. 30 (AEDT). Daniel Cormier was the champion in the division, and was expected to be stripped of the title when this Sunday’s main event kicked off. Yet, “DC” relinquished the title a day before.

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“Today I am going to relinquish the UFC light heavyweight title,” Cormier, who also holds UFC Heavyweight title, wrote in an exclusive statement to ESPN. “I am not going to be stripped of the belt that I’ve defended with my all for three and a half years. Being stripped of a title suggests you’ve done something wrong, and I haven’t.”

Daniel Cormier won UFC Light Heavyweight title in May 2015 by submission in the third round against Anthony Johnson. He successfully defended the belt against Gustafsson in October the same year, taking a split decision.

Late July 2017 “DC” faced Jones (former light heavyweight champion) in the defense of the title, with the bout initially going in favor of the latter who scored the third round KO. The outcome was overturned after “Bones” tested positive for turinabol, resulting in Cormier retaining the belt.

“I’d rather walk away this way, with my head held high as it always has been, than have the history books say I was stripped. I’ve defended this title this year. I was approached with the idea of fighting at heavyweight, so I took it. I fought three times in 2018. No champion has been more active than me. I am the fighter of the year. My story and my legacy will not include me being stripped of a title. They can have it.”

In January this year Cormier successfully defended light heavyweight title when he stopped Volkan Oezdemir in the second round. In his following outing in July he challenged and defeated the former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic by knockout in the first round, consequently becoming a two-division titleholder. In his previous bout early November, Cormier made a successful defense of the heavyweight belt when he submitted Derrick Lewis in the second round.

The co-main event at UFC 232 features the defending women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg up against the current women’s bantamweight titlehoder Amanda Nunes. A complete lineup and weigh-in results can be found here.

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