Derrick Lewis will have another opportunity to set himself apart from the heavyweight pack later tonight (Sat., Mar. 9, 2019) at UFC on ESPN+ 4 from inside Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas, when he takes on former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos in the main event.
This will be Lewis’ first Octagon appearance since losing to current UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier via submission back in November.
Should Lewis defeat JDS later this evening in Wichita he’ll set himself up for en even bigger fight his next time out. “Black Beast” may even land a rematch with surging heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou, who Lewis defeated via decision in one of the most disappointing heavyweight fights of all time less than one year ago.
“I have to get that fight out of the way again before I retire,” Lewis told TMZ Sports regarding a rematch with Ngannou. “Just to make it right for the fans. Not right for myself, just right for the fans.”
“That fight right there can’t be a main event fight, though,” continued Lewis with a laugh. “It gotta be three rounds. If they want that fight to be five rounds it’s going to be a boring fight once again.”
While Lewis would love to get a second crack at “Predator,” he has another name on the top of his list should he get capture victory this evening at UFC Wichita.
“I would like to fight Stipe [Miocic] next after this one,” Lewis said. “Stipe is the next guy.”
Miocic, who saw his title reign come to an end at the hands of Cormier back at UFC 226, is widely regarded as one of the best heavyweights of all time. After all, Miocic broke the UFC record for most consecutive heavyweight title defenses (3) just last year.
“They tried to give me Stipe in January,” revealed Lewis. “I told them I’m just coming off the ‘DC’ fight. It was two weeks after the ‘DC’ fight they tried to offer me Stipe. I told them no. I’m not about to fight Stipe on short notice and my hand is still messed up.
“Then they came at me to fight Cain [Velasquez] and I told them I can’t fight Cain. I still wanted some time off and that’s when I told them we needed to renegotiate my contract.”
With a new contract in place, Lewis is looking to right the ship and take 2019 by storm. Getting past a former champion like Junior dos Santos should help “Black Beast” rinse the bad taste out of his mouth from his recent loss to “DC” and allow him to work his way back to the top.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 146 fight card, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 5 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 8 p.m. ET.