Derrick Lewis continues to build his brand in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and that brand is about to impact his bottom line in a big way.
The popular heavyweight, who boasts nearly a million and a half followers on Instagram, has now earned himself a shot at the title against champion Daniel Cormier after his come-from-behind knockout victory over Alexander Volkov earlier this month at UFC 229. His post-fight interview with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan where he claimed his “balls [were] hot” definitely earned himself more followers going into the high-profile bout with Cormier.
According to “The Black Beast,” he stands to earn a substantial amount on Nov. 3.
“It’s probably more than I made this year already,” Lewis said.
That is impressive, considering Lewis has made around $880,000 in disclosed earnings so far in 2018: $320,000 against Volkov at UFC 229, $260,000 against Francis Ngannou at UFC 226 and $320,000 against Marcin Tybura at UFC Fight Night in Austin. Lewis went 3-0 with two knockouts.
While the sharp jump in pay might raise some eyebrows, his opponent Cormier has already publicly stated he took the fight on short notice against Lewis because the offer “was too good to refuse” and it seems Lewis is also getting a handsome pay day for his efforts for the high profile card in New York.
Lewis has said in the past he used to only train for 30 minutes a day although now with the step up in competition and seeing how large the potential pay days are in the bigger fights he’s decided to increase his training regimen.
“Not just the title on the line, whenever I saw my contract and see the zeroes, I was like, ‘OK, I can start training now,’” Lewis said. “Before, like I told y’all before, I don’t stay in the gym like everyone else does, my opponents. It’s pretty obvious, after the fight I’m laying all over the floor, I’m tired. Ready to go sit my ass down somewhere.
“But this fight right here, I’ve really been training all day long. Drinking more water than I need to be drinking. Really taking it more serious. There’s not gonna be no excuses for myself — win, lose or draw.”
Lewis is likely to go into the bout as a huge underdog against Cormier, who is used to fighting opponents with big power and nullifying their offense with his Olympic-caliber wrestling. Lewis is adamant Cormier is underestimating him in the fight and will be using that to motivate himself against the champion.
“Not really the UFC, just ‘DC’ believes that,” said Lewis, who added that he will be 100-percent for the title fight, despite a hard bout against Volkov. “He’s thinking it’s gonna be an easy fight for his self. But go ahead and think that. It’s just crazy that I even made it this far with the type of training I’ve been putting in before each and every fight. I’m serious. I don’t stay in the gym all day like all my opponents do. I stay for 30 minutes, 35 minutes — and five minutes on my phone posting memes and stuff. But this camp right here, I’ve been really at the gym all day long.”
While the announcement that Lewis would fight Cormier for the title surprised many fans, the 33-year-old said he just couldn’t pass up the opportunity of a lifetime.
“It’s just one that I can’t pass up, because I know there’s a lot of guys in this division that probably deserve a shot more than I’m getting,” Lewis said. “I probably don’t deserve a shot more than Stipe [Miocic], who should have got the shot. But ain’t no telling the next time I’m gonna get the opportunity, so I gotta jump on it anyways.”