Derrick Lewis was looking like he might be on the edge of breaking through to stardom leading into UFC 216. The heavyweight took time off from training to pluck numerous strangers from the waters of Houston following Hurricane Harvey, and a win over former champ Fabricio Werdum would have solidified him in the highest echelons of his division.
But he never got to show us what he's got against Werdum. The fight was cancelled in the hours leading up to the event, with Lewis unable to get out of bed due to a reoccuring back injury. He joined the MMA Hour to talk about what happened.
“For sure, it was real depressing,” Lewis said. “I took a big hit in my mental standpoint, it is way worse than a loss. It’s something that I never experienced and I hope it’s something that I never will experience ever again. I’m really in a depression stage right now. I ain’t gonna lie to you, I was really crying. I haven’t cried in years. I was really crying for the first time, my coaches, my wife, everybody was trying to butter me up, but I wasn’t trying to hear that, I was really crying.”
Lewis' back injuries span back to 2011, but the heavyweight has managed to fight through them for the most part. But things seem to be coming to a head. The injury reaggravated itself halfway through his scrap with Mark Hunt back in June, resulting in Hunt winning via TKO in the 4th. Lewis retired in the cage, citing the injury. And now he have this situation from UFC 216.
So what's going to happen?
“Right now, anything is a possibility,” Derrick said. “We’re just waiting on MRIs right now before we can start my treatment because they want to see what’s the issue first. The doctor I talked to on Thursday he said that he’s willing to release me anytime, it’s up to me, but I really want to take the precautions to see what’s really wrong with my back.”
“I don’t want to happen again. Even if it does happen again, I don’t want to go through the same feelings I went through pulling out of the fight and all that, going through that emotional mess."
But he's not going to let the injury stop him from continuing with his fight career.
"I’m still going to fight no matter what," he declared.
We can only hope whatever treatment he gets holds up through his next fight.