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That’s a solid question after Wednesday night, when UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and his FS1 broadcast partner Kenny Florian interview top light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson and it nearly devolved into a televised embodiment of their frequent Twitter feuds.
“In an ideal world, who are you fighting and don’t say nothing about an interim title either. It doesn’t exist on your planet anymore,” Cormier questioned Gustafsson, doing little to cloak his animosity for his former opponent.
Though Florian did his best to keep things professional, framing his questions for Gustafsson in an unbiased fashion, Cormier couldn’t keep it in that realm. He continued to needle the Swede throughout the interview.
“You don’t really wish you could fight me. Come on, Alex. You didn’t like that last time. You didn’t enjoy that. You could not have enjoyed what I did to you in there. We can pretend, but let’s not pretend,” Cormier dug in.
Cormier and Gustafsson fought each other at UFC 192 more than two years ago. Cormier won the fight, defending the UFC light heavyweight strap, but not before it went five full rounds, leaving him to eke it out via a split-decision verdict from the judges.
There was little controversy over the decision. The fight was a back-and-forth affair that saw Gustafsson able to take Cormier to the canvas, something other fighters have rarely been able to do, so it wasn’t like it was the lop-sided fight that Cormier seemed to frame it as.
Cormier did make a good argument against Gustafsson’s recent calls for an interim title at light heavyweight, however.
Though the champ is slated to fight heavyweight titleholder Stipe Miocic in the UFC 226 main event on July 7, he is only three months removed from having defended his belt.
“I just fought in January, Alex. I just fought in January. How are you wanting an interim title?” Cormier asked.
“DC, I don’t know if you’re coming back,” Gustafsson responded.
Though Cormier could be a two-division champion come July, he’s also said that, unless a “big fight” is in the offing at heavyweight, he plans to return to light heavyweight to defend his belt following UFC 226, even if he defeats Miocic.
The interview was certainly entertaining at points, but bordered on unprofessional at times. Is this an approach that should be revamped on a show like UFC Tonight or is it just part of the fight game?