Derrick Lewis will fight Curtis Blaydes this weekend at UFC Vegas 19, with a natural disaster in his native Texas playing out in the background.
Among the chaos, Texas senator Ted Cruz took considerable heat for trying to escape a deadly winter storm by flying to Cancun. Turns out, “The Black Beast” wanted to go with him. “I actually took a selfie with him at the airport, and I told him ‘hey, let me come with you,'” Lewis said during a virtual media day this week, promoting Saturday’s main event.
According to Lewis (24-7, 1NC), whose tall tales with the media have become legendary, Cruz declined, saying he was just dropping off his daughters. But the reality of the situation is “everything what you see on TV right now,” said Lewis, who does believe a lot of the problem is political. Either way, Texas, which has been hit with record snowfall, cold, and widespread power outages, has seen the death toll creep up to 50. That, on top of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lewis (24-7, 1NC) will have to leave that behind him. Instead, he’s embarking on a quest to pick up his fourth consecutive win inside the octagon. Were it not for the arrival of Jon Jones in the heavyweight division, expected later this year, that sort of streak might warrant another title shot for the heavy-hitting 36-year old. Especially given Lewis’ popularity with fight fans.
While sweating in the Las Vegas heat on Thursday, Lewis was not sweating the title situation. “I don’t care. That’s good. Jones’ been really cleaning out the division in 205. I’m pretty sure he wants some type of competition,” the heavyweight stated. “So it doesn’t matter. I get through Curtis this weekend, and I don’t expect a title shot or nothing like that. Even at the end of the year, maybe Izzy [Israel Adesanya] will come up. He’ll probably be fighting for the title before I do. Mighty Mouse might even come back in to fight for the heavyweight title. You never know. Whatever sells, it’s cool with me.”
Despite his simultaneously bleak yet comical take on the title picture, Lewis does want to stay busy. Past Blaydes, if it’s not the belt, he believes only one fight makes sense.
“I fought just about everyone except for Stipe [Miocic] and [Alistair] Overeem,” said Lewis. “I would like to fight Overeem next, but I don’t know if Overeem is even still going to be around after that last performance.”
Later, Lewis would return to the topic of “The Demolition Man” as his next foe. “Whenever I get through with Curtis, who else could I really fight, besides Overeem?” he questioned. Lewis also took a moment to clear up why he’d focused on the Dutch heavyweight. “Since he’s been running his mouth. Just to let you all know, he was the one running his mouth first. I wasn’t the one talking crap first. I don’t going around talking mess about other fighter, because I know this is a tough sport. I’m not just going to dog a guy out because of his performance, nothing like that. But Overeem is the one that had been talking trash to me. That’s the fight I would like to have next.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 19 virtual media day scrum with Derrick Lewis above! The event takes place Saturday, February 20 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.