Derrick Lewis took fan participation to a new level in December when he stripped off his cup from out of his shorts and threw it into the crowd after his win over Chris Daukaus.
One fan was seemingly delighted to take the unusual souvenir home. And now Lewis’ opponent for UFC 271, heavyweight fan favorite Tai Tuivasa, has upped the ante.
“Well, he can throw it to me when I win and I’ll do a cuppy out of his ball guard then,” Tuivasa said with a chuckle Wednesday at UFC 271 media day. “I’m keen.”
Tuivasa and Lewis face off Saturday in a high-stakes contender battle in UFC 271’s co-main event. A 28-year-old native of Australia, Tuivasa has developed a cult following among MMA fans for his heavy hands, jovial personality, and love of post-fight shoeys.
Lewis is a jokester himself, but even he couldn’t help but recoil at Tuivasa’s suggestion.
“That guy is nasty, man,” an exasperated Lewis said.
“I can’t do that. I don’t know. USADA needs to be knocking at his door all the time, he’s gotta be taking something to help his immune system. That is just nasty.”
In keeping with the shoey spirit, Lewis was then asked which UFC heavyweight he would actually be willing to go down the cuppy path with. His answer didn’t surprise.
“Man, what the hell? Nobody. I wouldn’t like to drink out of nobody’s cup. We’re all fighters so I’m pretty sure everybody’s got musty nuts. It’s all at the same level,” Lewis laughed.
“I’m not watching all these guy’s diets. I’m clean, so I’m probably the cleanest fighter they could drink it from, really. It’ll be warm, you remember. [Like a] latte.”
Jokes aside, the matchup between Lewis and Tuivasa is a pivotal one.
Lewis, the No. 4 ranked heavyweight in MMA Fighting’s global rankings, has won five of his last six fights and successfully rebounded from his interim title loss to Ciryl Gane with a thunderous knockout of Daukaus. Tuivasa, likewise, is MMA Fighting’s No. 14 ranked heavyweight and has pushed his way into contention with four straight knockout wins.
And Tuivasa isn’t making any secret about his game plan once the bell rings.
“I’m definitely not going to go out there and wrestle him,” Tuivasa said. “That wouldn’t be my smartest idea, but I’m a banger as well and I think that’s going to be the fight. It’s going to be the smartest fighter wins and the person who lands the hardest punch wins.”
Watch full video of Lewis and Tuisava speaking at UFC 271 media day above and below.