While Travis Browne has taken Derrick Lewis’ call out personally, Browne’s “Wife Beater” past, combined with treatment of his mom growing up gives “The Black Beast” his own motivation
Derrick Lewis won his fifth consecutive fight back in December with a fourth round TKO over Shamil Abdurahimov. While he got the victory, he wasn’t happy with his performance; he even went as far as calling it “some bullsh*t.”
While Lewis didn’t feel he deserved it, he will get the fight he has asked for this coming Sunday Night. Lewis takes on Travis Browne in the main event of UFC Fight Night 105, from the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The event will be shown on FS1.
The heavyweight fight was originally scheduled for this past Saturday’s UFC 208. While the card from Brooklyn, in hindsight, could’ve certainly used this fight from an action standpoint, Lewis was happy to get the extra time to prepare, and get over an illness.
“I’m happy to get the 8 days ‘cause I had the Flu,” Lewis said while appearing on the SFLC Podcast on January 26th.
“I got my energy back, so I’m glad it got me eight more days. That’s good.”
Travis Browne has been a name Derrick Lewis has been mentioning for some time now. Not because he dislikes Travis, not out of disrespect, but because of the meritocracy of the division.
“I did ask for the fight. I’ve been asking for the fight,” Lewis said.
“The reason why I didn’t think I was gonna get it (was) because my last performance, but I’m glad they wound up giving me the fight. The only reason I wanted to fight Travis anyway, or Mark Hunt, one of those guys…they believe they belong in the top 10, and so I believe I belong in the top 10 as well, and I just wanted to test myself against them. It ain’t nothing against them. I don’t think they’re like, soft or weak or anything, you know, I just think that it’s gonna be an entertaining fight.”
Browne was heralded early in his UFC career as a future world champion. Recently, he has not performed to the abilities his potential has shown, losing three of his last four, most recently, a unanimous decision loss to former champion Fabricio Werdum at UFC 203 in September. While this slide has been a detriment as of late, Lewis feels as if Browne’s regression has very little to do with his abilities inside the octagon.
“I believe it’s his coaching, and I believe it’s his relationships, and his marriage,” Lewis said.
“To me, it’s 80% mental and 20% physical, this MMA game, so if your head is not in it, it’ll take a toll on you.”
Reports were circulating that Browne was leaving his coach Edmond Tarverdyan and heading to Blackhouse in preparation for this fight. While he has moved his physical camp to Blackhouse, Tarverdyan is still his coach.
“He’s still my coach,” Browne told ESPN’s 5ive Rounds podcast with Brett Okamoto.
“He comes out quite a bit. He comes out every week to help. The only difference is it’s not in his gym.
“When I was doing my whole camp in Los Angeles, [Las Vegas-based coach] Ricky Lundell would come out once a week. So, it’s the same thing. We’re just doing it out here,” Browne said.
Derrick Lewis heard the reports like the rest of us. He loved them. At the end of the day, Lewis wants the absolute best Travis Browne in that cage with him on Sunday.
“I don’t want no excuses for the fight, I want Travis to be in the best shape of his life,” Lewis said.
“I want to fight the best Travis. The same thing I said about Big Country (Roy Nelson) whenever I fought him too.
“I want him to be in the best shape of his life, I don’t want any reasons, no excuses or anything.
“I know he’s old, but I still want him in the best shape of his life.”
While Lewis explained the call-out of Browne, as well as Mark Hunt, was about challenge and meritocracy, Travis Browne felt differently about it. He took it personally.
While talking to Brett Okamoto of ESPN in December when this fight was originally booked for UFC 208, Browne said, “He’s looking up and down the top 10 for the easiest fight and choosing my name, I don’t know how much more personal it gets than that.
“I’m not usually one to talk trash, and I do respect him as a fighter, but you want to test yourself, buddy? I’m your man. I’ll show you what this s— is all about up here,” Browne said.
While athletes in all sports, especially fighting, are looking for any motivation they can find to succeed, Lewis understands Browne maybe looking to motivate himself for Sunday night in Halifax. It also doesn’t stop Lewis from finding some motivation in his own way.
“I already know he’s a sensitive guy,” Lewis said. “I don’t take nothing from it. He can say whatever, if that’s what motivates him, that’s fine. I got a couple of things that motivate me too in this fight. He’s a wife beater!
“This is about my whole childhood life watching my mom getting beat by my step-dad, and so, me fighting a guy like this, that can be my motivation too. Me growing up not being able to do anything, feeling helpless, trying to fight off my step-dad with my mom, and me fighting a guy like this, so if he wants that to be his motivation, then I have a motivation as well.”
A win on Sunday night is huge for both fighters, in different ways. For Derrick Lewis, a win continues to move him up the UFC heavyweight division rankings, possibly at a match up with another surging heavyweight, Francis Ngannou. For Browne, a win gives him much needed relevancy when it comes to a fascinating heavyweight division, where fortunes can change with a big time performance, no matter how your record looks recently. That’s is why Lewis is expecting a motivated, and perhaps desperate “Hapa” across the cage from him.
“I believe he’s gonna do anything he can,” Lewis said.
“His back is against the wall and his household is not looking good. Ronda, he’s gotta deal with her moping around the house, and he gotta deal with his coach, so it’s gonna be tough. I’m willing to step in and accept the challenge.”
Lewis doesn’t have a prediction on Sunday night’s main event. He is hoping for an opponent who will engage and brawl with him. While he, of course, wants the victory, Lewis is looking to put on a fight that is fun and entertaining for the fans.
“I pray to God that he does come forward because I want a good fight,” Lewis said. “I just want to be in an entertaining fight.
“Win, lose or draw, I’m gonna go out there and give it my all.”