Derrick Lewis may be the UFC’s new all-time knockout king, but for however remarkable his record may be, it’s still secondary to Lewis’ ultimate goal of capturing a UFC title.
“It means something, I guess, because of all the greats that were here before me,” Lewis said in his post-fight press conference. “But really it doesn’t change anything, because there’s still a lot of other guys that are active and have been doing pretty good as well.
“I preferred to get the win in Houston [at UFC 265] than here in the APEX, so it didn’t really erase anything. I’m still going to be thinking about [the Ciryl Gane loss] late at night.”
Lewis rebounded from his August interim title loss in thunderous fashion on Saturday night, knocking out Chris Daukaus in the first round of UFC Vegas 45’s heavyweight main event. The win pushed Lewis into pole position on the UFC’s all-time knockout list, giving him 13 career KO/TKO wins under the promotion’s banner and inching him ahead of Vitor Belfort and Matt Brown, both of whom remained tied in second place with 12 knockouts.
Lewis did so once again as an underdog, upsetting the former Philadelphia police officer Daukaus, who entered the bout having won his first four UFC appearances via stoppage.
“That was for Rodney King,” Lewis said. “I’m fighting a police officer, man. Come on, man. That’s the only time you get a chance to punch a police officer in the mouth and get away with it, and then he gets up and shakes you head? Sh*t, that was a great feeling, man.”
The win propelled Lewis back into the title conversation. “The Black Beast” is currently sitting as the No. 4 ranked heavyweight on MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, and with UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and interim beltholder Gane set to meet in a title unification bout on Jan. 22 at UFC 270, Lewis could soon be right back in the mix.
“Ciryl, I guess he’s a good dude. He’s a likable guy,” Lewis responded when asked for his thoughts on the upcoming matchup. “I couldn’t find anything wrong with him. Personality-wise, outside of fighting, he seemed like a pretty cool dude. Ngannou, on the other hand, he can kiss my ass. He seems like a d*ckhead 24/7, so f*ck him.”
Lewis reiterated several times on Saturday night that he wants a three-round bout next. However, after being informed of UFC president Dana White’s suggestion that Lewis stay ready for a phone call in case anything falls through for Ngannou vs. Gane, Lewis acknowledged that his mind could be swayed on that three-round stipulation.
“We’ll see, man. I guess,” Lewis said with a smile. “Damn. I just told y’all I don’t want anymore five rounds, but OK, we’ll see. I want the money. We’ll see. I guess I’ll be ready, somewhat.”
As for his shiny new UFC record, Lewis didn’t have to put much thought into the answer when asked which of his promotion-best 13 knockouts was his personal favorite.
“I like the [Alexander] Volkov knockout [at UFC 229],” Lewis said. “That was pretty clutch because I was getting my cheeks clapped that whole fight, and it was good that I came in the last round — and it was a Russian guy, so it was an American going against a Russian, and I love all the Rocky movies. So basically that’s how Rocky used to fight, where he’d get whooped — damn near the whole fight he’d get whooped — then the music starts playing, then his wife starts screaming, then he’d get the knockout.
“So basically that’s how it was, and it was just perfect.”