Former UFC heavyweight title challenger Derrick Lewis believes American Top Team (ATT) will stop at nothing to overthrow his divisional aspirations.
Lewis, who welcomes ATT’s Ilir Latifi to the heavyweight ranks at UFC 247 next month in Houston, Texas, believes the Florida-based MMA team has been trying to get at him for years. This includes former UFC heavyweight champion and current ATT member Junior dos Santos, who knocked out “Black Beast” in their main event clash last March.
“I’m guessing (Latifi called for a fight with me) because I heard he’s training at American Top Team,” Lewis said in a recent interview with “UFC Unfiltered.”. “All of those guys have been calling me out left and right. Just about everybody over there – Greg Hardy, him, Junior Dos Santos. What’s the other guy’s name – the crazy one that just fought? Colby … They got a hit out on me.”
“Even Shawn Jordan (was) over there, too. They’ve been training for me for years – all their guys. Just about every guy over there I’ve fought already. They feel like they’ve got the recipe out on me.”
Lewis, 34, is certainly the type of fighter to stand his ground when he feels threatened, but the UFC veteran has never really talked trash about the ATT camp (except Hardy). It’s a strange situation for the Houston-based fighter, but Lewis has an idea as to why ATT is trying so hard to take him out.
“They look at me like the weakest in the top-five – a more easy fight for them,” Lewis said. “That’s how I look at it.”
As for his upcoming tilt with Latifi, Lewis believes his size will be too much to handle. However, “Black Beast” has studied Latifi’s game and truly believes “Sledgehammer” is well-rounded enough to threaten in ever aspect of the fight.
“I believe he’s just a small guy,” Lewis said. “I’ve fought small guys before. He’s probably going to be the smallest heavyweight I’ve fought in a long time. He’s an explosive guy and a great wrestler, so I’ve still got to be prepared for anywhere the fight goes.”
UFC 247 will take place Feb. 8 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, and feature a main event clash between light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and undefeated contender Dominick Reyes.
For complete UFC 247 fight card news click here.