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Derrick Lewis estimates ‘probably 70 percent’ of heavyweight division using PEDs

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It wasn’t until his ninth UFC fight that Derrick Lewis was forced to hear the judge’s scorecards, and that alone bummed the "Black Beast" out. He apologized after his fight with Roy Nelson at UFC Fight Night 90, and even called for a rematch despite getting his arm raised in a split decision victory.

And less than two weeks later, Lewis is still his own toughest critic. He hasn’t changed his mind on fighting Nelson again. Or, really, anybody who is available in late summer.

"I still want Roy because after Roy I was going to try and go for Brock Lesnar, but since he ain’t gonna be around for awhile…" Lewis said during a spot on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. "Or Mark Hunt. But I just want a fight really soon. Whoever is ready to fight, like in September or even the end of August, I’ll fight him, doesn’t matter who.

"I think Mark Hunt makes the most sense right now, for me. Or that Todd Duffee guy. I don’t know if he’s still on suspension or what. That would be a good fight. We forgot about him."

Asked if he had any indication either way, Lewis said he should have news from matchmaker Joe Silva soon.

"I should hear something back this week. They’ll let me know."

The 31-year-old Texan Lewis hit Nelson with some big shots early, and even bigger shots late, yet "Big Country" wouldn’t fall. He had to settle for a split decision victory, marking the first time a fight of his has gone the distance since he fought Tony Johnson in Bellator back in 2011.

Having to win via decision didn’t sit well with Lewis.

"I really wished I would have finished [Nelson]," he said. "But, I guess he is who they say he is. He’s got an iron chin. I hit that guy pretty hard, like one of the hardest punches I’ve ever hit anyone with standing up, and he didn’t go out."

Lewis’s hopes of fighting Lesnar next were dashed on Friday when it was revealed that the former heavyweight champion — who returned at UFC 200 after four-and-a-half years away — was popped by USADA for a banned substance. Lesnar scored a unanimous decision against Mark Hunt, but his triumph now carries an asterisk.

Lewis, for one, wasn’t taken aback by the Lesnar news.

"It was no surprise," he told Ariel Helwani. "It was like Nate Diaz says, there was no surprise about it. Come on man. Look at the guy. Everyone knows he’s juicing. But, that don’t affect me at all. I’ll fight anyone. I’m ready."

Yet Lewis also said that he’d fight Lesnar, even if he were using PEDs. 

"For sure I’ll fight him," he said. "When I was fighting in the lower league, I was fighting a lot of guys that was on juice. It doesn’t matter. That don’t help you fight any better, to me. I’ll still be eating fried chicken and McDonalds before my fight, and I feel fine."

When asked if the rampant use of performance enhancing drugs wasn’t a deterrent for him, as a family man with three children and so much to protect, Lewis said just stepping in the Octagon at all is a hazardous thing to do.

"I guess you got to have security problems if you got do all that," he said. "But it literally don’t affect me. I don’t care. The sport itself is dangerous. Anything can happen. So if you want to juice, go ahead and juice up. It’s just going to make you more depressed afterwards."

Since losing against Shawn Jordan at UFC Fight Night 68 in June 2015, Lewis has won four straight fights in the heavyweight division. He’s now a peripheral figure for a title shot, meaning he could be a fight or two away from making his case emphatic.

Lewis said he believed his time would come "sometime next year" to fight for a title. His dream scenario?
"Maybe against [Alistair] Overeem," he said. "I think he’s going to beat Stipe [Miocic]. If Overeem can stay clean…I know he’s tempted right now to take them steroids, I know he’s tempted…but if I can stay clean I’d say we can get at it by next year."

Overeem is fighting Miocic at UFC 203 in Cleveland on Sept. 10, right around the time Lewis says he wants to return. When asked what percent of the heavyweight division is using PEDs, Lewis tossed out an alarming number, yet reiterated that it was of no concern of his.

"Probably 70 percent," he said.

"It doesn’t piss me off at all. It’s just stupid for them to do that because they know that they’re getting random drug tests. They’re willing to risk thousands of dollars for something so stupid like that, that’s not even going to help them."

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