Derrick Lewis has never been one to suppress his thoughts and feelings, which is one of the reasons he’s such a fan favorite. As he prepares for UFC 265, “The Black Beast” shed some light on the added pressure that coincides with competing in Houston, Texas.
There’s always attached pressure when fighters perform in their home state/city, especially when a championship belt is on the line. Lewis has been quite candid in admitting to the extra weight on his shoulders heading into his second attempt at becoming heavyweight champ.
“Thinking it years ago and now really living it it’s like man what the hell did I say, what the hell was I thinking it’s a lot of pressure for sure,” Lewis told reporters. “But I look at it like every other fight I been in. I’ve never been the favorite to win any fight or favored to do anything good really in life. I’ve been a fighter all my life so I guess you can say I really had to get used to this and I believe I have.”
The roles have completely reversed from when Lewis challenged for the heavyweight strap the first time back in 2018. Then, he was facing a dominant champ in Daniel Cormier. Now, he takes on unbeaten phenom Ciryl Gane in his own backyard at a sold-out Toyota Center in Houston.
“This one does feel a lot different from DC because I didn’t have much pressure,” Lewis told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “DC was really the one with all the pressure on him and I feel like I have all the pressure on me in this one, which I really believe like I can get the job done, but I still feel like I have a lot more pressure on myself.”
Derrick Lewis: Pressure Is Nothing New
“I feel like I deal with the pressure every fight because no one believes in me,” he replied. “I always wanna go out there and prove everyone wrong. It’s just me about being in my hometown, that’s where I feel the most pressure because I’m here. I fought here (Houston) last year and I felt pressure, but not as much as I do right now.”
Perhaps to some people’s surprise, Lewis heads into UFC 265 as a sizeable underdog. According to Caesars Sportsbook, Lewis currently sits at (+310) with Gane coming in as the betting favorite at (-380). “The Black Beast” doesn’t put much stock into the betting odds though.
“The documentary on Derrick Lewis is about like overcoming all the odds,” Lewis stated. “It’s so crazy like all the odds. Every fight I’ve ever been in I’ve been the underdog, just about every fight. In life as well, I’ve been the underdog and it’s so crazy you never give up. It’s like the American dream basically, you never give up and it’s always keep pushing forward no matter what.”
With a knockout at UFC 265, Derrick Lewis will officially be crowned the knockout king. To accomplish that feat, along with having a belt wrapped around his waist, in his hometown would truly be something out of a motion picture. Prepare for goosebumps when he makes the walk to the octagon because the atmosphere will be electric. It’s then and there when we will all find out how Lewis handles the added pressure of fighting in Houston, Texas.
Ryan Truland is an MMA writer who conducts interviews with athletes, provides creative pieces, and whatever else is needed to keep readers up to date on the latest and greatest MMA news.