Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight power puncher, Derrick Lewis, is already planning his next fight, despite an existing booking against former division champion, Junior dos Santos, in the UFC Wichita main event next month in Kansas.
That’s because “Cigano” is expected to be the weakest opponent the “Black Beast” has faced in recent years. The resurgent Brazilian is currently ranked No. 8 in the official rankings (see them here), while Lewis sits in the No. 3 spot.
“He’s probably the weakest guy that I’m gonna fight out of the guys that I’ve fought before,” Lewis told Helen Yee (via MMA Fighting). “He’s probably like the fifth or the sixth guy. I don’t think he’s the toughest guy I’ve ever fought so we’ll see on March 9th.”
His last five opponents? Daniel Cormier (L), Alexander Volkov (W), Francis Ngannou (W), Marcin Tybura (W), and Mark Hunt (L). Dos Santos (20-5), meanwhile, is coming off consecutive victories over Blagoy Ivanov and Tai Tuivasa.
Lewis (21-6) is expecting to run through Dos Santos in the ESPN+ headliner before setting his sights on Stipe Miocic, another ex-champion. Working in his favor is the fact that Cormier, the current heavyweight titleholder, is holding the division hostage while Brock Lesnar wraps up his WWE duties.
“Hopefully everything goes good with the JDS fight and we get it back in there real quick with Stipe,” Lewis said. “It really don’t matter who I fight next. He’s just right there and he called me out before. They had me booked with JDS while he called me out so I’m just gonna go ahead and call him out before this fight.”
UFC tried to book Lewis vs. Miocic earlier this year, but the “Black Beast” was coming off his submission loss to Cormier at UFC 230 in New York, his fourth fight in 2018 and one that left him in need of some time off.
Whether or not that helps him against “Cigano” remains to be seen.