Heavyweight contender Derrick Lewis was riding a six-fight winning streak before he ran into veteran knockout artist Mark Hunt in the main event of UFC Fight Night 110 last June in New Zealand. Lewis ended up suffering a TKO loss to Hunt, and even contemplated retirement in the aftermath of the bout.
After taking some time off to heal his body, however, the “Black Beast” has decided to continue fighting, and he’s set to take on former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum at October 7’s UFC 216 pay-per-view (PPV) from Las Vegas, Nevada.
Recently speaking on the bout, Lewis said that he feels ‘incredible’ and that fans should expect a ‘damn good performance’ from him:
“I think you’ll see me bouncing around the cage like I’m a welterweight,” Lewis told MMAjunkie. “I’m moving pretty good, I’m feeling good. My strength and conditioning coach, Jimmy Gerland, has really been pushing me and making me better than I’ve ever been.
“I’m feeling incredible right now. Ain’t no excuses should come out of my mouth after this fight. Win, lose or draw, you should just see a damn good performance out of myself.”
Werdum has lost two of his last three bouts, but he still stands as one of the best heavyweights in the world. This is certainly a pivotal fight for Lewis and he said that it feels like a ‘championship fight’:
“I feel like this is the championship fight,” Lewis said. “Because Werdum – he was the champion like two years ago. And this is basically like a little mini championship fight for me, so I’m going to take it like it is one.”
While Lewis is a powerful striker, many would agree that Werdum, known as one of the best submission artists in MMA, has the advantage on the ground. Lewis, however, isn’t worried about that, as he feels like he’s going to knockout “Vai Cavalo”:
“I’ve been hearing that my whole career,” Lewis said. “Seven, eight years – I’ve been hearing the same thing: Every time I’m fighting, even a striker, (that) if the guy would ever take me down, then he’d have the advantage, and I’m really not worried about that.
“I believe that, if my conditioning is on point – which I know it is – and just listen to my coaches and watch my hand placement for whenever I do get on top or whatever position I’m at.
“I believe it’s just going to really take one punch. Even if he tries to play that pull guard crap. If you’re playing that pull guard crap, then he’ll see that he’s going to get knocked out.”
Who do you expect to come out on top when these two heavyweight contenders meet?