Derrick Lewis recorded one of his worse performances in August this year, when he was stopped by Ciryl Gane with a break in the last minute of the third round. It was a fight for temporary UFC heavyweight titles, and took place in the city where he has lived for years, Houston.
Because of all that, the defeat was hard for him, but even more so the way he lost. Derrick showed absolutely nothing, he was dominated, and what needed to motivate him actually held him back. At least that's what he explained during a media day at the UFC's APEX, ahead of this week's fight against Chris Daukaus.
"It took me over to fight in my hometown and then all that pressure that comes with it. And I threw all that pressure on myself. It would be 13 years from the day I got out of jail and winning the title would be something amazing."
"It's simple. I failed to cope mentally with the pressure I had created for myself, "Lewis explained of the defeat, which brought him back a few steps from the top. As for the aforementioned prison sentence, Lewis served three and a half years for a severe physical assault he carried out two weeks after graduating from high school.
That way, he actually earned a suspended sentence that he violated while in college, with a full scholarship as an American football player. After his release from prison, he started training boxing and then MMA.
He will now have to defend his third position in the challenger rankings against Chris Daukaus, a fighter who is coming in a big rush, with four knockout victories in a row.
Although Chris is four positions in the rankings below him, Lewis had no problem accepting the fight. "I always say that my opponents don't matter to me, just let me fight, no matter who," said Lewis, who was immediately commented on how he should take precedence in the experience, which he disagrees with: "Experience is nothing.
Most fighters go into battle with just one focus, to win. Everything but that doesn't matter. We're heavyweights, a category where anything can happen." The defeat by Gane did not negatively affect his ambitions.
They are still the same, and he knows when he intends to make them happen. Of course, it will all start this week in the UFC’s APEX. "The plan is to fight for the title by the end of next year. That would be great. Go through Daukaus, and then I could fight Stipe next time.
He's the Top 5, and I believe I should fight him like that." "Nothing personal against Stipe. I just want to fight the best. I have nothing special to prove, it's just a guy I've never fought against before. I know he's one of the best ever," Lewis said with much respect.