<
>

Daniel Cormier will defend light heavyweight belt after Stipe Miocic superfight

LAS VEGAS -- UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will attempt to become just the second fighter in UFC history to hold two belts simultaneously, as he's scheduled to challenge heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 on July 7.

And once that's done, Cormier intends to return to the 205-pound division and defend his current title.

"It's gonna suck [dropping back down]," Cormier said. "Every time it sucks, but it's my weight class. I owe it to the guys in the division to go back down and fight them."

The obvious No. 1 contender at light heavyweight is Sweden's Alexander Gustafsson (18-4), whom Cormier has already defeated via split decision in October 2015.

Gustafsson, 31, has already expressed his feelings about Cormier moving up. He wrote on social media, "Stop run and fight me!"

Cormier, who fights out of San Jose, California, said he has no problem defending his 205-pound title by the end of the year, but believes the division should keep fighting while he's unavailable.

"If Alexander Gustafsson wants a fight like he's saying, I'll go back down and fight him. But he should fight again, because he barely fights. I've fought five times since he and I fought. He's fought twice. He needs to fight again before we fight.

"If I fight in July, I probably won't be able to fight until the end of the year again. So, Alex should not have been sitting for a year-and-a-half and just waiting for a title shot. That doesn't make any sense."

The one curveball that could change Cormier's plans, of course, is a potential third fight with rival Jon Jones, who is under provisional suspension for a failed drug test in 2017. It remains unclear how long Jones will be out of action.

Cormier admitted if the UFC offered Jones in the form of a heavyweight title defense, he would accept immediately.

As far as his move up, Cormier, 38, anticipates weighing around 235 pounds. Miocic usually weighs in at approximately 10 pounds heavier. Cormier is no stranger to the heavyweight division. He fought at heavyweight from 2009 to 2014.

"In the heavyweight division, I've always been faster," Cormier said. "I think that was my best attribute when I was fighting heavyweights. Stipe has only fought heavyweights. He hasn't really fought light heavyweights. So, it'll feel different being in there with me."