In a massively insightful interview with MMAFighting’s Luke Thomas, Derrick Lewis made it clear that his motivations for fighting are centred on one thing and one thing only.
Speaking to Luke Thomas on his SiriusXM radio show, Lewis explained how the darkness in his past has made him wary of the joy he now feels.
“A bunch of bad stuff has happened to me all of my life. Then all of this good stuff came all at one time.
“It’s almost unbearable to manage, thinking that something bad is going to have to happen sooner or later. It’s overwhelming really.”
During the open workouts ahead of this weekend’s event, his UFC 230 opponent Daniel Cormier stressed his belief that it takes a certain type of person to do what Derrick has been to able to do with his life.
As a younger man, he served a three-year stint in prison for aggravated assault and worked as a tow-truck driver before going pro in mixed martial arts.
Since his release, he has managed to turn his life around in the most dramatic of fashions. For that reason, DC revealed that he is in no way taking this man lightly.
“This is a guy that went to jail as a youth and honestly, when you go to prison as a kid, especially a young black kid, a lot of people give up on you. In that cell, you tell yourself a lot of things.
“You say, ‘I’m gonna do better when I get out.’ I’m gonna be this and I’m gonna be that. And the vast majority of the guys who do say those things, they never change. They go back and do the same thing.
“Derrick Lewis didn’t, right? Derrick Lewis became a millionaire. Derrick Lewis is fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world. There’s something different about him and that’s why I know what’s in front of me this weekend.
“So let him try and trick you guys. But pay very close attention to who he really is. He’s a smart guy and he ain’t tricking me.” (via MMAFighting)
The allure of belts, fame, and potentially lucrative deals with chicken restaurants is usually what drives a lot of those who get into the sport.
If you ask Derrick himself, though, he’ll tell you that his primary goal, in fact, his only goal in this game, is to take care of those closest to him.
“I don’t care about fighting. I don’t care about being the champion. I’m not doing it to be popular or anything like that.
“I’m just doing it to take care of my family.
“I don’t care about being the best fighter in the world. I’m not training to be the best fighter in the world. It’s just a job to me.”
Helping those who surround him always seems to be at the forefront of Lewis’ mind, whether that be his family and friends, or when those who share his hometown of Houston, Texas are in need.
The Black Beast went viral last year when he was spotted in his truck aiding victims of Hurricane Harvey following the widespread damage caused to the city due to flooding.
According to the man himself, he has been able to build the house of his dreams as a result of the money he has earned over the course of last few years and with his short-notice fight against DC tomorrow night, he feels as though the pressure is off him to some extent.
His added level of fame is something that will do wonders for him the future – no matter how Saturday’s fight goes – and if that helps him provide for those closest to him, he’ll take it.
“I getting guaranteed money. I don’t feel the pressure to get the job done to get that 50%. They should be finished building my home next month so I’m very happy about that.
“I’m just really happy right now about everything. It’s the home of my dreams.
“I like that the attention helps me take care of my family. I don’t really like the attention. People will forget about me next week. I don’t care about that.”
The heavyweight title showdown will sit at the top of the UFC 230 card and while there is everything to gain for Lewis if he can pull off the upset, in some ways, he has already managed to take home gold.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena