UFC 229 is now available on Amazon Prime.
Derrick Lewis wants fans to know his back has healed, especially after the criticism he received for his lukewarm victory over Francis Ngannou at UFC 226 in July.
“The Black Beast” takes on former Bellator MMA heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov (30-6) on the main card of Saturday’s blockbuster UFC 229, headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor for the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight belt. Lewis infamously aggravated a chronic back injury during the Ngannou fight, but in spite of that lackluster win, has somewhat quietly positioned himself against a breakout opponent on perhaps the biggest card of the year.
“My back’s good,” Lewis told Sherdog.com’s Anthony Walker. “I got a shot for my back, it’s not cortisone or nothing like that, it’s some kind of steroid. I don’t know the name of it, but it’s like three kinds of steroids. They stuck 20 times in the same spot.
“My advantages are still in the first few minutes of the fight, stay outside of his kicking range,” Lewis added. “When I do come in, I know he’s gonna try to do some kind of clinching, but I’m ready for that. I’m prepared for anything.”
The Ngannou bout, despite being a victory for Lewis, has taken some of the momentum away after a surprising run that saw him dispatch the likes of Travis Browne and Gabriel Gonzaga during a six-fight winning streak. A loss to Mark Hunt actually did less damage than the decision win over Ngannou, who somehow managed do to even less than Lewis did.
But for Lewis, the lack of attention and everything that came with that Ngannou victory doesn’t bother him in the slightest; in fact the inconspicuousness may end up working in his favor.
“They can keep underestimating me, that’s good,” Lewis said. “I still haven’t reached my full potential. I wanted to do a lot, but I couldn’t because my back wouldn’t let me.”
Lewis and Volkov will fight on the main card of UFC 229, which will air live on pay-per-view from Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 6.
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