“The Black Beast” is ready to put on a show for fans Saturday night. No. 4 ranked UFC heavyweight Derrick Lewis is scheduled to take on No. 2 ranked Curtis Blaydes in the main event of UFC Vegas 19 on February 20.
The two heavyweights were supposed to fight a few months back, however Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19 and the fight was rescheduled for this weekend.
Lewis (24-7, 1 no contest) will look to extend his winning streak to four by toppling “Razor” Blaydes (14-2, 1 no contest). It’s an exciting clash in the division and the victor could be the next in line for a title shot behind No. 1 ranked Francis Ngannou.
UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is set to defend his title against Ngannou at UFC 260 on March 27.
There have been many cases throughout UFC history of fighters willingly taking themselves out of active competition to wait for a title shot. But, don’t expect Lewis to wait around for a shot at the belt.
In an interview with Heavy, The Black Beast said his main priority with fighting is to provide for his family, not winning a championship — he would not put himself on the shelf and await a title shot. Although he believes he deserves a title fight after Ngannou should he defeat Blaydes, the belt isn’t his main priority, remaining active is.
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Lewis Gives ‘Lay & Pray’ Prediction for His Bout With Blaydes
Blaydes’ last fight was on June 20 when he defeated Alexander Volkov by unanimous decision. However, Razor Blaydes took some heat from UFC president Dana White for his performance as it appeared the heavyweight had gassed later in the match.
In an interview with Heavy, Blaydes admitted that he got tired in the fifth round against Volkov and that he did a little “laying and praying.”
And for their fight, Lewis may decide to implement the same strategy Blaydes used against Volkov. In typical Lewis form, The Black Beast said his gameplan is to take Blaydes down to the ground and “lay and pray” on Blaydes for all five rounds to earn the victory, seemingly taking a shot at Blaydes.
Will fans see that gameplan implemented by The Black Beast? It’s unlikely as Lewis is known as the knockout king in the UFC heavyweight division. He has 19 wins by knockout in 24 victories and holds the record for the most combined KOs and TKOs in UFC heavyweight history, with 11.
The Black Beast explained to Heavy why he is such a deadly force inside the Octagon.
“I’m just different,” he said. “I do everything differently than everyone else. I’m not really all that technical like everyone else is. So, I’m out there really trying to kill or be killed every fight. A lot of guys out there like to play safe and just hold you and take you down and try and place safe, win by decision or something like that. Me, I’m going out there on my shield every fight.”
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Lewis Doesn’t Care About Fighting Former Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, Who Says He Is Moving Up to Heavyweight
Lewis has no interest in fighting former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. “Bones” vacated the title earlier this year and announced he plans to move up to heavyweight.
Bones is No. 2 on the male pound-for-pound list and has only ever tasted defeat once in 28 professional fights, a disqualification loss to Matt Hamill in 2009. White has told the media multiple times that Jones can have an immediate title shot at heavyweight should he want one.
If Lewis defeats Blaydes, he has the potential to be the first heavyweight fight for Jones if “Bones” doesn’t want to wait around for the UFC 260 winner.
But, that’s not even on The Black Beast’s radar.
“It really doesn’t matter if I fight Jon or not,” Lewis said. “Like, who cares? I don’t care if he comes up to heavyweight. It doesn’t affect me in any kind of way. Maybe to other guys that really want the title and stuff, but not me, I don’t care what Jones does with his career.”
The Black Beast also doesn’t care if Jones is granted an immediate title shot at heavyweight and leapfrogs him. “No, not at all, because Brock Lesnar did it before,” Lewis said. “So, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care.”
Lewis told Heavy that he hasn’t even thought about potentially fighting Jones. And for a prediction, The Black Beast said it would go to a split decision in favor of himself.
In His Last Bout, Lewis Set the Record for Most Knockouts in UFC Heavyweight History
The Black Beast will bring into the Octagon his show-stopping power to combat Blaydes’ high pressure and wrestling. In fact, Lewis used his vicious KO power set a record in his last UFC appearance. On August 8, The Black Beast finished Aleksei Oleinik with punches in the second round of their content and by doing so, broke the UFC heavyweight KO record.
Lewis revealed to Heavy that he never planned on breaking a record in MMA and that he is proud to be the “knockout king.”
“I’m very proud to have [the record],” Lewis said. “It was something that I didn’t even really think about achieving. You know, that wasn’t my goal. My goal was to get into the sport just to make money. I never really thought about breaking records and stuff like that. So, whenever I got it, it was a really humbling experience because I came all the way from the bottom to being the knockout king for real.”
Lewis Wants to Remain Active in 2021, Fight 3 to 4 Times
2020 was a busy year for The Black Beast and he hopes to continue being active in 2021. Lewis said he performs better inside the Octagon if he has a busier schedule as it forces him to keep his weight in check.
“My previous fights, fighting once or even twice a year, really affected me because my weight would shoot straight up and then I’d have to get it back down,” Lewis said. “So, when I fight more actively, my weight just stays down.”
Lewis then laid out his 2021 plans to Heavy. “I want to end the year undefeated,” Lewis said. “It would be great if we could get three or four [fights] in there.”
Lewis would also like to compete on the UFC’s famous “Fight Island,” located on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Dubai and that’s not too far away [from Abu Dhabi], so I’ve always wanted to go over there,” he said. “I’d love to fight over there, I don’t care who it is.”