Derrick Lewis vows that his fight with UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou truly will be explosive this time.
As mentioned by UFC president Dana White, Lewis (25-7 MMA, 16-5 UFC) confirmed that he will be Ngannou’ first title defense and hopes the pair rematch in August.
Their first bout at UFC 226 in 2018 was a dud. Both men were tentative, leaving fans utterly disappointed. Lewis got the win by unanimous decision but says there’s no way their rematch doesn’t deliver.
Not only that, he thinks Ngannou (16-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) will falter very early if he comes charging in at him.
“It’s gonna be a fun fight,” Lewis told ESPN. “We both learned a lot from that. We both improved since that fight, so it’s gonna have to be a fun fight. Too many rounds are gonna be involved in this fight. It’s gonna be five rounds, so it’s not gonna be five rounds of snooze fest. It’s gonna be five rounds of swinging and banging, so it’s gonna be interesting to see. I’m excited for it.”
“I will say the first exchange, I’ll knock him out in the first exchange. I almost knocked out Curtis (Blaydes) in the first exchange, too, but he got on that bike and he took off running. I feel that in my heart, especially if he comes out the way he’s been coming out to all his other guys, especially the way he came out against (Jairzinho) Rozenstruik. If he tries to come out and fight me the same way, then I’ll knock him out for sure.”
Although Ngannou was on the heels of his first loss and uncharacteristically hesitant against Lewis, “The Black Beast” holds himself accountable for the lackluster fight.
“I blame myself,” Lewis said. “It really wasn’t his fault. I’m not gonna sit up here and blame him. I’m gonna say it was my fault mostly. I came in that fight in half-assed training and didn’t take care of my body the way I was supposed to that fight, so I blame myself. Now that I’m more experienced, I know that what I need to do to really get the job done.”