Derrick Lewis: Fabricio Werdum thinks I’m an ‘easier fight’ than facing Mark Hunt again
Derrick Lewis has been trying to land a fight with Fabricio Werdum for almost a year but now he’ll finally get his chance on Saturday night at UFC 216.
Lewis first attempted to face Werdum at UFC 207 last December when former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was pulled from the card due to a pending neck surgery.
As soon as there was a vacancy available, Lewis and his managers contacted the UFC attempting to land the fight with Werdum, but it didn’t come together. Fast forward several months later and Lewis says that Werdum suddenly starting calling him out while calling him names at the same time.
Thankfully this time around Lewis got the fight he wanted and Werdum signed on the dotted line to meet at UFC 216 this Saturday night.
“We had all tried to set that fight up before,” Lewis told the Fight Society podcast about his fight with Werdum. “I believe last year whenever Cain [Velasquez] got injured and Fabricio had turned the fight down and now he’s calling me a chicken and saying that I won’t fight him. I told the UFC I wanted to fight him cause he called me a chicken. But they already know he turned down the fight with me last year before.”
While both fighters are coming off losses heading into this weekend, Lewis says that Werdum had the chance to accept a call out from former heavyweight title contender Mark Hunt but he wanted no part of that. Hunt was the man who ended Lewis’ six-fight win streak but apparently Werdum had no interest in a rematch after already defeating him back in 2014.
Lewis chalks it up to Werdum looking at their fight as an easier matchup, but he plans on making the former champion regret that decision when they step into the cage together on Saturday night.
“I think he thinks this is an easier fight than the Mark Hunt fight because Mark Hunt wanted to fight him and he told Mark Hunt no, he don’t want to fight him, he’s not going to be ready in time. Then the same week he ended up calling me out before Mark ended up signing his fight contract,” Lewis said.
“I got news for him. I’m not going to be the same fighter he saw my last few fights. Even the fights that I won. You’ll see a big difference in my body shape and everything.”
According to Lewis, UFC 216 will serve as the first time in nearly two years that he’s really put everything into his training to get ready for a fight.
Considering that Lewis just recently went on a six-fight win streak where he won five of those bouts by knockout or TKO, it’s tough to imagine he was barely putting any effort into his training camps but that’s exactly what he says was happening.
“All I really did was just do pad work and stairmaster. That’s it,” Lewis revealed. “That’s all I did. No jiu-jitsu, no running, no jogging, no nothing like that. All I’ve been doing the last two years. No running at all.”
Lewis says that everything changed after his knockout loss to Hunt earlier this year, which nearly resulted in his retirement before he decided to give his career another shot while fully committing to his training and preparation.
The result has been a fit and conditioned Derrick Lewis and even he’s shocked at what he’s been capable of doing, which is why he can’t wait to unleash the true “Black Beast” against Werdum.
“I’m running, hitting pads, doing jiu-jitsu, eating right,” Lewis said. “Finally eating right, that’s probably the longest I’ve ever went consistently eating a healthy diet. I got a strength and conditioning coach, I’m back with him. I haven’t had one in two years. I was with him when I first started my UFC career then he moved away. He just moved back a few months ago and we’ve been on a roll ever since.
“I’m excited to see how this Derrick Lewis performs.”