Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight contender Derrick Lewis is set to return to the Octagon Oct. 6 in the co-main event of UFC 229 against Alexander Volkov. The pairing was first reported by ESPN.
The hard hitting Lewis is coming off one of the most disappointing fights in UFC history back in July at UFC 226 against arguably the scariest puncher in the division: Francis Ngannou. Fans expected a quick fight that wouldn’t last a round, although not only did the fight go the distance; the pair combined for only 33 significant strikes landed with neither fighter doing any damage.
The fight was so bad that the UFC didn’t even both getting color commentator Joe Rogan into the Octagon to do a post-fight interview in fear of the backlash from fans.
It was later revealed Lewis had a reoccurrence of a back injury, which was why he was so tentative during the fight. His back has plagued him throughout his career and wasthe reason he briefly retired from the sport back in 2017 before a change of heart.
“The Black Beast” was a guest on “The MMA Hour” Monday to confirm his fight with Volkov, as well as provide an update with a new treatment he is undergoing to deal with his ongoing back issues.
“Right now it’s going pretty good,” Lewis told host Luke Thomas on The MMA Hour. “The shots that I took, they said it should last like 10 to 12 months.
“It wasn’t stem cells or nothing like that. It was something -- they shot me like 20 times in one spot, it was some type of steroids.”
Speaking of steroids, Lewis did confirm they were approved by USADA. In addition to the new treatment, Lewis revealed he’s also undertaking some core exercises to improve his condition and has been advised to shed some weight to assist in the process and improve his condition long term.
While it’s early into his new treatment, the former Legacy Fighting Championship heavyweight champion is optimistic with the progress made.
“This is my first time having (the shots),” Lewis said. “I was taking magnesium, and magnesium was working for a while, but this last fight right here, it didn’t work at all.
“I feel good. I feel real mobile right now,” he added. “All of my fights, especially all of my UFC fights my whole career, I’ve never been in there without any kind of impingement and pain wrong with my back. It just amazes me that I made it this far with all the pain that I have to endure during all of my fights.
“We’re taking it step-by-step, day-by-day. We’re taking it real slow, because ain’t no way I’m going to pull out of this fight again. I’ve pulled out in the past and I ain’t planning on doing it for this fight here.”
The fight against Volkov presents a number of challenges to Lewis and he believes if he can dominate the Russian then hopefully he’ll be fighting for the title in his next fight.
“He’s a tough guy, he’s a long guy,” Lewis said of Volkov. “I really can’t stay in his kicking range or his reach, and stuff like that. I believe I’ve gotta push the pace and get closer to him and really get more strikes off than he can land on me.
“Hopefully it can be a dominating performance and put me right back in the place I was supposed to be in -- be a contender, a real contender, and be fighting for the belt next.”