I keep getting better and better, and this fight couldn’t come at a better time. I am peaking right now.
Interview by: AJ Hoffman
Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis will take on Thiago “Big Monster” Santos at Bellator 45 in Lake Charles, LA this weekend. The winner will be entered into this season’s heavyweight tournament. I recently met up with Lewis at Silverback Fight Club to discuss the opportunity, and how he plans to make the most of it.
Lewis: I feel like it’s a blessing. I feel really good. It’s something I have always dreamed about. I’m ready. I think I have been ready for about 6 months. I was supposed to do the Bellator card in San Antonio back in August but I had a broken toe, so Dale Mitchell took that fight instead. This has been a long time coming.
TCD: Talk about the one loss you had. What did you learn from that experience?
Lewis: It is pretty controversial. He was pretty much knocked out when the fight ended, but the refs said he made it to the bell. He ended up in the hospital afterwards for a couple of days. I learned from that fight. Don’t be so relaxed. I learned not to hold back. We didn’t stand and bang at all. I was worried too much about the takedown. I wasn’t tired at all at the end of the fight because we just laid there the whole time.
TCD: What do you know about your opponent?
Lewis: BJJ black belt. He is 8-1. All his fights have been in Brazil except one. He fought one fight in Russia. That’s the one he lost. He reminds me of Ryan Martinez. He is gonna come out wild swinging. I think he will be strong, but I haven’t fought anyone yet who is as strong as me, and I don’t think anyone in the world at heavyweight has more heart than me.
TCD: Santos has been quoted as saying, “I respect everyone I fight, but I want the title. My intention is to finish Derrick by knockout or submission to let everyone know that I’m coming for the belt.” What is your response to that?
Lewis: He better have a good gas tank, and gas is high. Something like $5 a gallon. My tank is full. I have already filled up. I’m ready to go. He better be ready too.
TCD: You think gives you an edge that this isn’t your first out of town fight, and it will be in your home state?
Lewis: I think it’s more of an advantage that I am bringing good coaches down there with me. And I have this heart. He also doesn’t have tape of how I am gonna look. I keep getting better and better, and this fight couldn’t come at a better time. I am peaking right now.
Lewis: Chump change (laughs). It would mean a lot. Right now I’m struggling. (Derrick wanted to take this moment to say that he is looking for sponsors!) It would be huge for me. Really.
TCD: As nice as the money would be, winning that tournament would open some eyes to the UFC. How important is that?
Lewis: That’s part of the plan. I am hoping to be the first guy out of Houston to win my way into one of these Bellator tournaments and actually get a win in it. I know the UFC is gonna be here in October now. They are always looking for heavyweights, and I plan on making them see what I’m doing.
TCD: How do you see this fight going?
Lewis: I wanna say a second round knockout. But it’s five minutes. I will probably feel him out in the first round, and finish him in the second with a submission, maybe a knockout. No matter what it’s not going to the third round. Not going to the decision. Especially if he comes in as big as I think he will. There is no way he will last that long.
TCD: Of course the matchup everyone in Houston wants to see is you and Sam Hoger. Is that still something you are interested in?
Lewis: I talked to Sam the other day. I bumped shoulders with him, to get his attention. Made sure he looked at my eyes when I was talking to him. He said he was gonna try and get it done. Said he is talking to some promoters. We will see. I want to be the best heavyweight in Houston. I don’t want there to be a discussion. I don’t know why there is. He never really beat anyone. He went deep into fights with a couple good fighters. Doesn’t mean he’s good. Just means he’s tough. I just want to be the best at everything I do. He’s better off picking on guys like Patrick Miller. Guys he can walk through, instead of calling me out. Plus he’s a thief. I know he stole all those t-shirts and beanies. Rashad Evans is my boy, so I am gonna do it for him since he stole from him. (Laughs)
Lewis: I feel great. Even though I’m the underdog. I feel loose. Relaxed. Ready. I want to represent Houston. Put us on the map.
TCD: Anyone you want to thank?
Lewis: Texas Tail Crawfish. Best crawfish in the world. ProGo Protien Shakes. DFC. Mike and Buddah. And of course Silverback and Jason David Frank. Jesus didn’t tap. And the Bruce Lee movies. They motivate me. I’m a black belt under Bruce Lee.
Good luck to Derrick this weekend. Bellator 45 takes place at the L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort in Lake Charles. The main card, including the match between Santos and Lewis, will air live on MTV2.