In the last month, the only thing that has been hotter than Derrick Lewis’ balls is his career.
At UFC 229, we saw one of the best come from behind knockouts in UFC history when Lewis finished Alexander Volkov in the final 11 seconds of their heavyweight bout. Before that, he decisively lost the first two rounds and was well on his way to dropping the third. To top things off, Lewis proceeded to give a legendary octagon interview, exponentially growing his popularity among fans.
Turning circumstances into opportunity
Soon after Lewis’ brilliant performance, we found out that he will fight Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 229 for the UFC Heavyweight Championship at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, November 3. This card was doomed for main event mediocrity until Lewis stepped in to save the day. This only boosted his growing popularity with the MMA community.
Getting to this point was obviously due in part to the beautiful knockout Lewis surprised Volkov with but it was also the perfect storm of circumstances. UFC 229 was the most-viewed MMA event in history. Everyone from casual fans to diehards to people who had never seen a fight before, had their eyes on Derrick Lewis as they waited for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor.
The unexpected knockout got the attention of thousands of people who had never seen “The Black Beast” in action. His antics on the microphone kept it. Lewis is always a brilliant and hilarious speaker, but when countless people who otherwise never would have been exposed to him heard what he had to say, the whole world fell in love. Seemingly overnight, Lewis saw his Instagram followers double as the whole world talked about him.
A worthy contender
Throwing Lewis into a title shot has not gone without criticism. There are fighters and fans who feel he does not deserve a title shot. After all, Lewis he is a brawler with relatively very little martial arts training and was losing the Volkov fight until the very last seconds then gave a funny speech. Some will see it as a desperate attempt to save UFC 230.
In reality, it is about time “The Black Beast” gets his shot. He has gone 9-1 in his last ten fights which as a heavyweight in the UFC is nearly impossible. Lewis holds wins over Volkov, Roy Nelson, Shamil Abdurakhimov, Travis Brown, Marcin Tybura, and Francis Ngannou. With a hit list like that, it is impossible to say the man does not deserve to fight for the belt. Results are results regardless of fighting style.
Derrick Lewis is understandably a massive underdog to Daniel Cormier and is as high as a +575 on some betting lines. Still, every time we have doubted Lewis, he has come through. There is not a man alive that Derrick Lewis cannot put away with one punch. If he does that to Daniel Cormier, he will become a megastar. The UFC is in need of big draws and Derrick Lewis as the heavyweight champion would keep a plethora of new fans who fell in love with him at UFC 229. No matter what happens in New York, the meteoric rise of “The Black Beast” has been nothing less than well-deserved.