UFC Vegas 45: Derrick Lewis Siding with Gane in Ngannou Fight

Las Vegas, NV — Derrick Lewis returns to the octagon this Saturday at UFC Vegas 45 for the first time since his title fight loss against Ciryl Gane back in August.

Lewis admits that ahead of that interim title scrap, he may have put too much pressure on himself to perform — especially given the timing of the bout, and it coming at home in Houston.

“Just overwhelming, fighting in my home town. I put all that pressure on myself,” Lewis (25-8, 1NC) told media outlets including Cageside Press at the UFC Vegas 45 media day on Wednesday. “It would have been what, 13 years about since the day I got out of prison? It would have been 13 years [since] the day I got out of prison, and winning the title to be UFC champion, I put so much pressure on myself, it was just very nerve-wracking.”

That said, Lewis isn’t done fighting in his home town. “I would like to keep fighting in Houston. I love fighting in Houston. It’s just that day, I put so much pressure on myself. It is what it is.”

His return atop the final UFC card of 2021 seems like a decent turnaround, but if he’d had his way, Lewis would have been fighting already.

“I wanted to get back in quickly. I wanted it quicker than what we have right here.” Lewis admitted Wednesday that he hadn’t seen any of opponent Chris Daukaus’ fights prior to this week, though he has been catching up. “I didn’t know who he was before, but I know who he is now.”

Part of that comes down to Lewis’ approaching to accepting fights. “I don’t care who it is. I always tell them, I don’t care who it is. It’s go time no matter what it is. I’m not in it trying to be the best fighter in the world, so I’m not trying to pick and choose my opponents. So it’s whoever.”

Lewis’ characteristic wit was on display Wednesday, when asked about Daukaus’ second career as a police officer. Saying he supported the police, Lewis agreed that he couldn’t give his opponent any extra respect. “When ever you’re fighting a police officer, you don’t want to get Rodney King’d on ESPN. So you gotta go out there and fight hard, man, do it for the people.”

Having shared the cage with both Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou, who will face off in a title unification bout at UFC 270 next month, Lewis gave his pick for who he wants to see walk away with the undisputed heavyweight championship — which he hopes to fight for later next year.

“I would like for Gane to win. He seemed like a good dude. Seemed like a likeable guy outside of fighting. So I’d prefer him,” Lewis stated. “Francis, it is what it is. Always, f*ck that guy.”

Watch the full UFC Vegas 45 media day appearance from Derrick Lewis above. More coverage from the event, which takes place this Saturday, December 18, 2021 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, can be found below.