It’s not like Derrick Lewis takes anything his opponent seriously, or takes himself at all seriously in interviews. But the UFC Vegas 15 seems genuinely confused at Curtis Blaydes’ recent claim that he’s been protected by his promoter.
Just look at his resume, he replies.
“I don’t know what he was thinking, because I already have fought just about everybody in the division,” Lewis told reporters at a virtual media day for Saturday’s fight card at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. “I don’t know why he would say that.”
In a historically shallow division, Lewis’ list of opponents is longer than most heavyweights. He’s even fought for the heavyweight title, losing a lopsided contest to now ex-champ Daniel Cormier. He currently holds the record for most knockouts in the big-man division at 11.
A good, exciting matchup and a step up the ladder is the only expectation driving Lewis, who’s won his past three.
“I want to be more entertaining for a main event,” he said. “I want the fans to be pleased. Just to lay and pray and be boring, fans will change the channel. Just be entertaining.”
Lewis mostly delivers on that front, though he’s had a few bouts that were fairly forgettable. But until he finds out what’s in store for him in the octagon, he’s mostly about entertaining himself as he answers questions about the upcoming fight. He deadpanned that those tuning in on Saturday night will see him wrestling Blaydes, who’s made smothering his opponents on the mat a calling card.
“I think I’m going to show him that I’m one of the baddest blue belts in Texas,” Lewis said. “If he wants a wrestling match, I’m sure he’s not going to try and take me down. I believe that he feels that my weakness is really standing up, because I’m so predictable. So I don’t even think we’re going to go to the ground. I think he’s going to try and out-strike me. My game plan is to take him down right off the bat.”
Asked about his vow to take the sport more seriously and continue the physical transformation that eliminated his need to cut weight to make the heavyweight limit, Lewis joked that he plans to come in heavy.
“I’m probably going to miss weight,” he told MMA Fighting. “That’s what I’m looking for the most. Probably going to be 10 pounds heavy. So we’re just trying to get through this week and try to make weight, but there’s a lady walking around in every room, eating all in my face. She be eating a sandwich, a smoothie, so I don’t even think I’m going to try and make 265 any more. It’s all her fault.
“You’ve gotta smell this food she’s been eating. I don’t want to cut weight. It’s delicious.”
Lewis has never missed on the scale, of course. He’ll be ready to face Blaydes on Saturday, and none of the pontificating that led up to the fight will make much of a difference. At that point, it’s just about doing a job.
“He’s just a typical crab in the bucket, one of those type of black guys,” Lewis joked of Blaydes. “He doesn’t want to see another Black man making it in America. Just typical.”