It looked like it was going to be a short night for Derrick Lewis at UFC Fight Night 105 — and not in a good way.
As Travis Browne battered him with kicks to the body in the opening round of their heavyweight headliner at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, “The Black Beast” repeatedly clutched his midsection upon absorbing the blows. At one point, Lewis even turned his back on the 6-foot-7 Hawaiian, and it appeared that Houston native’s five-fight winning streak was about to come to an end.
Lewis ultimately survived the round, and according to him, it was more about escaping embarrassment than enduring pain.
“It was more just trying not to s—t on myself. I’m holding my gas in and trying to breathe and at the same time I didn’t want to shit on national TV,” Lewis quipped at the post-fight press conference.
“I just eased out a little fart. Tried to clear out my stomach a little bit. Once it did that it was good. Then the second round it came back again, just started bubbling. I was like, ‘I’ve got to end this fight.’”
Whether it was simply gas or the product of some serious body shots, the ensuing urgency displayed by Lewis was impressive. A left hook early in round two sent Browne into the cage, and Lewis swarmed with uppercuts. Not long after, Lewis floored “Hapa” with a right hook to the head and unloaded with ferocious ground-and-pound for a finish at the 3:12 mark of round two.
“I knew it was over. Because he always does his world-famous baby deer walk,” Lewis said on Fox Sports 1. “His legs are just flopping. So I just knew it was over then.”
While it appeared that a few of the final blows on the ground were unnecessary, Lewis wasn’t upset that referee Mario Yamasaki might have been late stepping in to rescue his opponent.
“I appreciate it. I’ll give him a $1,000 for letting the fight go because I just wanted to get all my anger out on Travis’ face anyway because he likes to hit on women,” Lewis said in reference to the domestic violence accusations in Browne’s past. “I appreciate him for doing that.”
In winning his sixth consecutive fight, the longest active streak in the heavyweight division, Lewis once again showcased an ability to overcome early adversity. While Lewis’ power is unquestioned, he is well aware that he needs to make improvements to reach the top of the weight class.
“I’ve got to work on my overall game. A lot of guys in the Top 5, they’re good everywhere. Me, I’m one dimensional,” Lewis said. “I believe I’ve got the most heart in the division. My heart carried me throughout my whole six-fight winning streak.”
Lewis has as much momentum as anyone in the heavyweight division, and he is targeting a future showdown with Mark Hunt, who faces Alistair Overeem at UFC 209 on March 4. For now, however, he wants to take a little time for himself.
“I just been fighting just about every other month or two months. I just want to clear my head a little bit,” he said. “My last fight I wanted some time off. My coaches caught me at a bad time when I was drunk and asked me if I wanted to fight Travis and I said, ‘Yeah I want to fight him.’ But this time I just want some time off just to relax my mind. I’ve just been thinking about fighting constantly at my home and it’s just bringing problems at my house.”