Derrick Lewis appears to be next in line for a heavyweight title shot against Francis Ngannou, but he says it’s not official yet.
In April, UFC president Dana White said Lewis was the No.1 title contender despite Jon Jones moving to the heavyweight division after canceling his 205-pound title in 2020.
Lewis was a guest fighter at Saturday’s UFC 262 event in Houston and spoke with reporters backstage at the Toyota Center to provide an update on the situation regarding his second UFC opportunity. .
“It’s not really official yet,” Lewis said. “I don’t know, it looks like he wants to keep going back and forth with Jones and he’s really trying to ignore me. This is what it looks like, but I hope it’s official.
White was also keen to say that Jones “wants $ 30 million guaranteed” to fight Ngannou. As an interested piece of the championship puzzle, Lewis is grateful for Jones’ alleged price tag as it gives him a potential opportunity in the belt, while also raising his personal prize.
“I appreciate what Jones did, so thank you,” Lewis explained. “I could take the minimum, 8 million dollars, I’m not [greedy], not at all.
“$ 8 million, damn it, I can fight tonight for $ 8 million.” I told my manager my price and told him not to call me if it was not the price I gave you.
Lewis first competed for the heavyweight title at UFC 230 in November 2018 and was stopped by Daniel Cormier via a second round submission. “The Black Beast” would go on to be finished by Junior dos Santos in his next fight, but since then Lewis has won four straight wins. The 36-year-old has completed his last two fights against Aleksei Oleinik and Curtis Blaydes.
If the fight with Ngannou was booked, this would be the second time they would face each other. They first met at UFC 226 in July 2018, where Lewis clinched a victory in a fight widely regarded as one of the worst in promotion history. Lewis is pretty confident if a deal can be made that the rematch would be more exciting for the fans.
“We have to go [different], it can’t get any worse than it used to be, ”Lewis said. “It should be, even if it’s one more punch than the last fight, it has to be better and I believe it is. We both improved in many areas from the last one we had.
“But it would just be a crazy experience [to be a champion]. It would be a lifetime movie or series. It would be an inspiration to a lot of people who were in my situation – came out of nothing and became the heavyweight champion of the world – that would be crazy.