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Derrick Lewis reflects on loss to Daniel Cormier, says he was ‘caught off guard’ by single-leg takedowns

Derrick Lewis’ night at UFC 230 didn’t go as planned.

The fan-favorite fighter was submitted by two-division champion Daniel Cormier in their heavyweight title fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday night. In many ways, it was an expected outcome, as many foresaw Cormier using his world-class wrestling to carve his path to victory against Lewis.

“The Black Beast” himself wasn’t surprised by Cormier’s tactics in their main event bout at UFC 230.

“He did what we thought he was going to do. He wrestled, point blank,” Lewis said at the UFC 230 post-fight press conference. “I was feeling good in the second round, throwing, had good movement going, and he just went for the takedown.”

Lewis’ plan was to defend any takedowns and stay out of trouble so he could drag the fight to the third round, where he planned to turn things up.

Despite expecting takedowns, Lewis wasn’t prepared for the single-leg attacks that proved crucial to Cormier’s rear-naked choke win.

“He did pretty good on that, I didn’t expect him to do that (single-leg takedowns),” Lewis explained. “I guess that’s part of the chain wrestling or something like that, they call it, so he did pretty good on that, caught me off guard.”

Lewis just fought last month in October at UFC 229, where he defeated Alexander Volkov via late knockout. The Texas native had less than four weeks to prepare for the championship bout against Cormier. Despite many critics thinking it was too short of a turnaround for Lewis to be ready for UFC 230, Lewis disagreed even in defeat.

“Not at all, I was still in good shape,” Lewis said. “I’ve been wrestling and working on wrestling defense my whole career, so it was nothing new.”

As for what’s next, considering his recent active schedule, Lewis hopes to sit on the sidelines for a while before having another go in the Octagon.

“Hopefully I don’t have to fight no more this year,” he said. “[I want to] get some time off, they can hit me up before the summer next year.”

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