Heavyweight contender Derrick Lewis hasn’t stepped into the Octagon since June 2017 when he suffered a stoppage loss to veteran Mark Hunt. He was then scheduled to take on former champion Fabricio Werdum late last year, but he was forced to withdraw from the fight due to back issues.
These back issues have actually been causing “The Black Beast” problems for years, as he recently said that he hasn’t been able to train properly for quite some time. Ahead of his UFC Fight Night 126 (Feb. 19, 2018) bout against Marcin Tybura, however, Lewis said that everything has been fixed:
“I really haven’t trained the last few years the way I’ve supposed to be training because of my back issue,” Lewis told MMAjunkie. “We fixed it, and I trained my ass off for this fight. … I still feel like I’ve got a lot left in the tank. I’m taking my training more serious, my diet more serious. I’m just giving myself a chance. Before I wasn’t giving myself a chance. Doing half-ass training, my coaches would try to push me, and I’m still half-ass training. But this camp right here, I really pushed myself to the limits.
“I don’t have no pain nowhere, nothing. I’m training more than 30 minutes a day. I’m doing two-a-days. I’ve been doing two-a-days, training more than just stair master for 15 minutes and hitting pads for 15 minutes. I’ve been doing more than just that.”
Now healthy and rejuvenated, Lewis claims that he’s ‘hungrier’ than he was before:
“Of course it’s about the money and stuff like that, but I am hungrier than I was before, back in 2010 when I first started MMA,” Lewis said. “I feel ready to go. I got the rest that I needed and the time off, and I feel ready.”
Do you expect a new and improved Lewis to show up tomorrow night in Austin?