“Man, I always wanted to compete, but I was hurt and I kinda set my sights on just waiting for Brock,” Cormier explained Monday on The MMA Hour. “Then the UFC called me and asked me. That’s generally how it goes, but this time they said, ‘Can you fight in a few weeks?’ And I was like, ‘Well, honestly, I’m not ready to fight right now, but I could see where I stand. I could see if there’s any chance that I could get in a fight.’ They said Derrick Lewis. I said, ‘Okay, let me go see if my hand will hold up when I punch something. If it does, then yeah, I’ll go fight.’
“It’s good enough to fight,” Cormier continued. “It’s not 100 percent, I’m going to be honest. My fist is closing but not all the way. It feels like now I have like a badly jammed finger. Like, it feels like my finger’s just jammed really badly right now. “You ever had like a jammed finger and you just can’t really pop it? It kinda like sticks up a little bit more than the other finger? That’s where my hand is right now, so my pointer finger doesn’t close completely. Like, I can’t make a closed, tight fist, but it just feels like if I could pop it, I would be okay. The problem is I’m just too afraid to pop it. It hurts. Like, I’m not popping it. I’m just kinda hoping that if I’m sparring and I punch someone, that it pops and goes back to normal.” With so little time to prepare, Cormier said he’s “just really managing” his injured hand in the lead-up to UFC 230. He’s able to train at a level of intensity he feels comfortable with, and he vowed that he’s not taking the power-punching Lewis lightly.