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Derrick Lewis says he’ll fight Francis Ngannou for $8 million

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Derrick Lewis appears to be next in line for a heavyweight title shot against Francis Ngannou, but he says it’s not official just yet.

In April, UFC president Dana White stated that Lewis was the No. 1 contender for the title despite Jon Jones making the move to the heavyweight division after vacating his 205-pound title in 2020.

Lewis served as a guest fighter during Saturday’s UFC 262 event in Houston and spoke with reporters backstage at the Toyota Center to provide an update on where things stand in regards to his second opportunity at UFC gold.

“It’s not real official yet,” Lewis said. “I don’t know, it seems like he wants to keep going back and forth with Jones and he’s really just trying to ignore me. That’s what it seems like, but hopefully it’s official.”

White also made it a point to say that Jones “wants $30 million guaranteed” to fight Ngannou. As an interested piece of the championship puzzle, Lewis is thankful of Jones’ alleged price tag as it provides him a potential opportunity at the belt, while driving up his personal price as well.

“I appreciate what Jones has been doing, so thank you,” Lewis explained. “I could take the minimum, $8 million, I’m not [greedy], not at all.

“$8 million, sh*t, I can fight tonight for $8 million. I told my manager my price and told him don’t call me if it isn’t the price that I told you.”

Lewis first competed for the heavyweight title at UFC 230 in November 2018 and was stopped by Daniel Cormier via second-round submission. “The Black Beast” would go on to get finished by Junior dos Santos in his next fight, but since then, Lewis has run off four straight victories. The 36-year-old has finished his last two bouts against Aleksei Oleinik and Curtis Blaydes.

Should the fight with Ngannou be booked, it would be the second time they would clash. They first met at UFC 226 in July 2018 where Lewis earned a decision win in a fight widely regarded as one of the worst in the promotion’s history. Lewis is quite confident if a deal can get done that the rematch would be more exciting for the fans.

“It’s have to go [different], it can’t be any worse than it was,” Lewis said. “It would have to be, even if it’s one punch extra than the last fight, it’s gotta be better and I believe it is. We’ve both improved in a lot of areas than we were in the last one we had.

“But it would just be a crazy experience [to be a champion]. It would be a Lifetime movie, or series. It would be an inspiration to a lot of people who have been in my situation—came up out of nothing and became the heavyweight champion of the world—that would be crazy.”