There weren't many surprises for Derrick Lewis when it came the approach of Daniel Cormier at UFC 230.
Nonetheless, “The Black Beast” appeared powerless to stop the wrestling of his opponent, as he was taken down repeatedly en route to a second round submission defeat in Saturday’s headliner at Madison Square Garden in New York. Lewis had a fleeting moment of success during a brief standup exchange in the second stanza — Cormier acknowledged that he felt his opponent’s power — but it wasn’t enough to prevent the reigning heavyweight champion from imposing his will.
“He did what we thought he was going to do. He wrestled, point blank,” Lewis said at the UFC 230 post-fight press conference. “I was feeling good in the second round, throwing, had good movement going, and he just went for the takedown.”
Lewis entered the matchup having won nine of his previous 10 Octagon appearances. A Hail Mary comeback against Alexander Volkov at UFC 229 gave Lewis his championship opportunity when the promotion scrambled to put together a headliner for its Madison Square Garden event.
The Houston native said he was as close to 100 percent as he could have been, considering the short-notice nature of the bout.
“I was pretty good,” Lewis said. “Nothing was hurting. My conditioning was there. Probably the best shape I’ve been in, physically and mentally.”
Nonetheless, Cormier landed four takedowns, a UFC best for the American Kickboxing Academy standout. “DC” had success attempting low single-leg takedowns. While Lewis expected Cormier to wrestle, he didn’t necessarily anticipate that particular technique.
“He did pretty good on that, I didn’t expect him to do that,” Lewis said. “I guess that’s part of the chain wrestling or something like that, they call it, so he did pretty good on that, caught me off guard.”
After a 2018 in which he fought four times and became one of the UFC’s breakout stars, Lewis is ready to take an extended vacation.
“Hopefully I don’t have to fight no more this year,” he said. “Get some time off, they can hit me up before the summer next year.”