The consensus around the MMA Twitterverse was that referee Mario Yamasaki took too long to step in at the end of Derrick Lewis’ second-round knockout finish of Travis Browne on Sunday night at UFC Fight Night 105.
Browne ate about a dozen big punches after being dropped to the mat, the last few of which went undefended and bounced Browne’s head off the canvas at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
And Lewis not only agreed that the stoppage could have happened sooner, but he was thankful that it wasn’t.
Lewis, in his post-fight Octagon interview, intimated that he enjoyed the knockout because of the 2015 allegations of domestic violence against Browne. And in case anyone thought that was a joke, Lewis doubled down later at the post-fight press conference.
“I appreciate it,” Lewis said at the stoppage. “Where [Yamasaki] at? I appreciate it, I appreciated him letting the fight go a little longer than what it should. I just wanted to get my anger out on Travis’ face because he likes to hit on women. So I appreciate him for doing that. I keep it real.”
Browne, who is currently in a relationship with Ronda Rousey, was never charged in the alleged incident with ex-wife Jenna Webb. He was suspended by the UFC and then reinstated following an investigation.
Lewis, meanwhile, now finds himself on a six-fight win streak with five stoppages and is 7-1 in a stretch dating back to February 2015. He carried a UFC belt out to the press conference and proclaimed himself the interim heavyweight champion.
And while he kept it real in his remarks about Browne, it’s also clear Lewis is honest with himself about his standing in the pecking order. While his tenacity and punching power have carried him this far, he knows he still needs to improve if he’s going to make a real run at the championship.
“I gotta work on my overall game,” Lewis said. “The guys in the top five, they’re good everywhere. Me, I’m just almost one-dimensional. I believe I’ve got the most heart in this division. it carries me the whole way through this six-fight win streak. The heart, that beast mode kicks in, and thank god for that.”