Heavyweight powerhouses #5 ranked Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis and former title challenger Francis ‘The Predator’ Ngannou were meant to fight and the bout finally got materialised on the stacked UFC 226 card.
Before the exchanges they had on Twitter, Lewis recalls the time when they first met in 2016 on a card in Croatia.
“He introduced himself to me [before the fight] saying that I was his next opponent and ever since then, I’ve been watching him,” Lewis said ahead of their fight at UFC 226.
“I did [think that was disrespectful] and then after the fight, he called out everybody else but me. It seems like he was avoiding me but I guess he had bigger fish to fry.”
Ngannou who got battered by champ Miocic in his last fight via unanimous decision at UFC 220 in January, showed a big hole in his game which is his cardio. Lewis believes Ngannou will enter the octagon with something to prove. However he believes not much has changed in six months and can get the job done by weathering Ngannou’s storm.
“I believe he’s going to come out with something to prove, show everybody he’s got better cardio and more well rounded to defend takedowns and all that on point,” Lewis said. “Hopefully he comes prepared. More hungry than he did then he did his last fight.”
“It’s just his punches. I don’t have to worry about nothing else. None of his kicks or anything, not his grappling. Just his punches. That’s about it,” Lewis said.
“I’m not impressed with nothing. Of course he hits hard. We all hit hard in the heavyweight division. It just takes one punch from either one of us. I think it’s more than that. You’ve got to be really well rounded in this sport. It’s mixed martial arts. It’s not just boxing.”
“This one right here I don’t know,” Lewis said when asked to predict when he’ll finish Ngannou. “If it’s not in the early rounds, I’ll for sure get him in the third round.”