UFC heavyweight Derrick Lewis doesn’t mind fighting his way down the rankings.
Whether it’s would-be opponent Fabricio Werdum, Mark Hunt or Marcin Tybura – whom he meets this weekend at UFC Fight Night 126 – the ultimate goal is to stack some paper.
“For sure, that’s all I really care about,” Lewis (21-7-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC) told MMAjunkie Radio in advance of his FS1-televised co-headliner against Tybura (16-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) on Sunday at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
It takes only one look at what others are making to get Lewis motivated. Take, for instance, his would-be rival Francis Ngannou (11-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC), who just fell short of the heavyweight title and made a pretty penny in a losing decision to champ Stipe Miocic at UFC 220.
“Now that I’ve seen that – what’s his name, Francis (Ngannou)? – he got $500,000 just fighting for the belt,” Lewis said. “Let me fight for the belt next. They can give me $500,000. (Expletive), I’m going to gas out too.
“Guaranteed $500,000? You don’t have to worry about me training before a camp. I’ll be drinking a beer right after weigh-ins.”
Lewis, No. 13 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, trolled No. 2 Ngannou immediately after the title fight, hopping on a treadmill and doing a poor imitation of the Cameroonian heavyweight. The two have traded shots in interviews, but Lewis professes not to have watched the UFC 220 headliner.
“Everybody keeps saying that,” Lewis said. “No, I didn’t (watch). A friend of mine Facetimed me, and that’s the only reason I saw the highlights. And I started watching reruns of ‘Martin.’”
Lewis now devotes his free time to training for Tybura, an honorable mention in the rankings who recently fell short to Werdum after a three-fight winning streak. Lewis doesn’t underestimate the threat.
“It’s the heavyweight division,” he said. “Anyone can win. It just takes one punch. So it doesn’t matter if he’s ranked No. 15 or the No. 1 guy. I take each and every fight like it’s going to be my toughest opponent.”
Except, maybe, for the randoms who show up at his gym. Lewis recently posted a picture of a man lying on the canvas at his gym. The man allegedly had answered an open call for training partners. Lewis was happy to oblige (vai Instagram):
“The guy came Wednesday, I sparred him, and I knocked him out in the first few seconds,” he said. “Saturday, when the invitation wasn’t open any more, some random dude came up. Big guy. And I head-kicked him the first few seconds too. We’ve got video on them both. I can’t post it because the coach is talking about a lawsuit, even though he signed a waiver.
“He said he didn’t know I was going to throw kicks.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Derrick Lewis on Francis Ngannou's pay: Give me 0K to gas out