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UFC Vegas 19: Derrick Lewis thinks it’s ‘crazy’ he could become heavyweight champion

UFC 247 Jones v Reyes: Athlete Panel Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Derrick Lewis has accomplished many things throughout his UFC career, including the most knockouts in UFC heavyweight history (11) and an all-time legendary post-fight interview, but “Black Beast” has never sunk his teeth into a UFC title.

Lewis is currently on a three-fight win streak in the UFC’s dangerous heavyweight division and will have a chance to claim a fourth victory in a row when he takes on Curtis Blaydes later tonight at UFC Vegas 19. If Lewis can upset the surging wrestler then he may find himself in a No. 1 contender’s bout next time out, or even a title shot if the MMA gods have their way.

Lewis has fought for the UFC heavyweight title once before having lost to Daniel Cormier via submission back at UFC 230, but even “Black Beast” can’t imagine the idea of one day wrapping the heavyweight championship around his waist.

“That would be crazy,” said Lewis during Thursday’s pre-fight press conference. “That would be really crazy for a guy like me, going through all the stuff that I went through, and becoming UFC champion, heavyweight champion of the world. That’s just crazy to even put in the same sentence as my name: ‘Derrick Lewis, heavyweight champion of the world.’

“It just felt even crazy when they announced I have the all-time knockouts in the UFC compared to all the thousands of other guys who fought before me and all the big knockout artists that they had. It’s crazy that I’m the No. 1 guy now. It’s like crazy, especially how I used to approach the sport, not even really taking it seriously. To even be this far in my career is just so crazy.”

Lewis, who turned 36 earlier this month, currently has two fights left on his UFC contract. As one of the most entertaining fighters on the roster it’s highly unlikely that UFC would ever let “Black Beast” walk, but a win this weekend over Blaydes could really sweeten the pot for Lewis when new contract talks begin.

“Even if it’s not a significant bump, that’s fine,” Lewis said. “It’d be great if I could get a significant bump (in pay). I’m not gonna even say any more about it. But yeah, it’d be great. … I’m really going into this fight because I have one more fight on my contract after this one. I have to perform (as) I’ve never performed before, especially if I want a better contract than I have right now. I’m going into this fight like it’s going to be my last shot at the UFC. I have to go out there and perform to the best of my abilities.”

While Lewis comes into UFC Vegas 19’s main event as a +355 underdog Blaydes has been knocked out twice in UFC competition. Both of those knockouts may have come at the hands of Francis Ngannou, but Lewis hits nearly as hard as the No. 1 heavyweight contender and does hold the division’s knockout record.

As long as “Black Beast” can avoid takedown after takedown he stands a chance to pull off the upset and set himself up for a massive fight later this year. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 19 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 5 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 8 p.m. ET.

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