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Tai Tuivasa on fighting Jon Jones, ‘hated’ Greg Hardy, and how he got Derrick Lewis at UFC 271

Tai Tuivasa didn’t plan to return to the octagon so soon. After picking up his fourth straight knockout win, the main item on his agenda was drinking.

But after a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, he said UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard got the idea to put him back in against a big name, Derrick Lewis. And just like that, it was time to sober up.

On Saturday, Tuivasa and Lewis co-headline UFC 271, which takes place on Lewis’ home turf of Houston at Toyota Center (and falls on the week of his 37th birthday). On Wednesday, Tuivasa waxed on a variety of topics, from the offer to fight Lewis to his thoughts on Kevin Holland’s recent schooling of an internet troll.

How the Lewis fight came together:

“I continued to drink after I talked to you, and apparently Mick messaged me that night,” Tuivasa said. “I was too pissed, and then I woke up in the morning and everyone was calling me.”

On why he didn’t think he’d return so fast to the UFC after his most recent fight, a knockout win over Augusto Sakai at UFC 269:

“I was getting pissed. I was in my holiday mode. I was going to continue the holiday for a little bit, but like I said, it’s a big opportunity, and I’m a big fan of Derrick as well. Why not? If it’s popped up, might as well grab it with two hands.

On flying from Dubai to Houston nonstop in business class:

“I get my flights. I look after myself. I always sit in business. I can’t sit at the back. I’m too big. I don’t want to sit in economy, so I get my own.”

The most post-fight beers he’s ever had:

“I wouldn’t know. A few. Oh yeah, [over 20]. Easy. I’ve never counted, but I reckon it’d be up there. I probably did 15-20 before I talked to you [in the previous interview].”

On Francis Ngannou’s performance at UFC 270:

“He did well. It was a little more boring than I thought it would be. But he f*cking did good. He wrestled.”

The possibility of welcoming former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to the heavyweight division:

Count me in. I’ll jump in against Jon Jones.

Greg Hardy’s recent social media post about nearly winning their fight at UFC 264:

“He’s a c*cksucker. I don’t know what he’s on about. If he wants it again, he can come see me. I’ll slap the sh*t out of him again. ... So many people hate him. He’s f*cking hated. I uust heard he did some sh*t in the past, but it’s real evident that he’s hated - a lot of people hate his ass.”

How he chooses his unusual walkout music:

“Mainly, it’s the songs I listened to with my mom. A lot of them were when I used to drive around with my mom. They’re all songs I listened to on a daily basis.”

What he thinks about Kevin Holland’s recent video of a grappling session with an internet troll.

“I couldn’t do that. I would have ended up bashing him.”

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