One of the UFC’s most unique personalities is the latest beneficiary of the Conor McGregor bump, and it’s already paying off in more ways than one.
ESPN reported that Derrick Lewis will get a title shot against Daniel Cormier at UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden.
BREAKING: Per Dana White, "the fight is done" between Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 on Nov. 3 in New York.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) October 9, 2018
This announcement comes just days after his crazy win over Alexander Volkov at UFC 229.
Lewis was getting dominated in his main-card bout. Volkov’s range proved to be an issue, and Lewis was well on his way to losing a decision. But as the final seconds of the third and final round ticked down, Lewis landed a huge right hand that changed everything.
Lewis dropped Volkov and subsequently finished the job with brutal ground and pound, sealing the deal for his third-straight win.
The knockout already had Twitter going wild, but it was Lewis’s post-fight antics that garnered even more attention.
As many dedicated MMA fans know, Lewis is one of the most unpredictable fighters on the microphone. After knocking out Travis Browne, he famously called him out for previous domestic violence issues and also made some interesting comments about Browne’s wife (then girlfriend) Ronda Rousey.
This was the biggest stage that Lewis has been on. With McGregor fighting in the main event, there were more eyes on this card than ever before. Lewis certainly capitalized on that moment.
With his wild post-fight celebration that included the removal of his fight shorts as well as his hilarious, explicit interview with Joe Rogan, Lewis’s popularity skyrocketed. Less than 48 hours after his come-from-behind win, Lewis surpassed one million followers on Instagram.
Lewis earned himself plenty of fans by making a splash on a huge card, but he also put himself in a great position within the UFC.
Lewis was coming off his fight with Francis Ngannou, the fight that everyone hoped would be a barnburner but wound up being a major flop. For some time, management was very unhappy with both fighters for such disappointing performances.
On top of that, Lewis has been dealing with injuries for quite some time now. He’s been dealing with chronic back issues that made him contemplate retirement after his loss to Mark Hunt in 2017.
Lewis told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that his issues flared up once again in the Volkov fight.
“My back was hurting until the end of the third round,” Lewis said.
He felt that the issue “zapped all [his] energy away,” which could be to blame for why he appeared to be so stoic early on in the fight.
Lewis also confessed that he broke his ring finger shooting a takedown on his sparring partner before the fight.
Though the fight itself was one-sided until Lewis’s wild knockout, he didn’t sustain a lot of damage.
Despite the nagging injuries, he got the job done, made a name for himself and is now reaping the rewards. Lewis is clearly confident that he’ll heal in time for this bout with Cormier on November 3.
It’s a tough task, but if he wins the belt we’re in for another legendary post-fight speech.
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