Before the main event—and the chaos that followed—of UFC 229 this past Saturday, Lewis (21-5-0) gave one of the best post-fight interviews of all time, just moments after delivering a stunning come-from-behind knockout to Alexander Volkov with 15 seconds left in the final round. (If you havent seen the interview yet, check it out in the video below.)
Overnight, Lewis went from just under 500k followers on Instagram to 1.3 million (and counting), making him even more of a draw. And just two days later, UFC offered him a title shot against current Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight champ Daniel “DC” Cormier at Madison Square Garden on November 3.
In the midst of his fight prep, we caught up with Lewis to discuss his training (or lack thereof), Instagram fame, the post-fight scuffle, and, of course, his flaming hot balls.
M&F: Derrick, the world is dying to know, have your balls cooled down since Saturday?
DL: Actually, I just took two ice packs off of them. They’re sizzling. It’s like pop rocks down there—but I believe I’m going to be OK.
Aside from your hilarious interview, the brawl that occurred after the main event was another highlight. What was the scene like?
I was in the same locker room as Khabib. It seemed like I was all in the hood, at one of them hole-in-the-wall clubs. Everybody cussing, and bunch of security police officers, and guys yelling, “Lock the door! Lock the door! Dont let nobody in!” It was just crazy.
You said that you’re too out of shape to fight for a title, yet now you’re fighting for the title against Daniel Cormier. What changed?
Yeah, yeah—I said I don’t want to fight. I was really joking about that. I can really go five rounds. I believe I have a shot and I won’t quit. [The UFC] asked me if I was up for fighting and I said, “Yeah, I would love to fight DC.” I found out on Monday.
But you have admitted that your conditioning is an issue. What’s your strategy between now and the fight to take on, arguably, the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world?
The strategy is just really to stay in the gym a little longer. You know, it amazes me how far I came in my career, only training 30 minutes or an hour a day, and all of these [other fighters] are training like three to four hours a day and eating right, and stuff like that. I haven’t been doing any of that.
What was your camp like for your last fight against Alexander Volkov?
I tried to eat right this camp and try and stay an extra hour in the gym. I just know that I’ll have to start doing my two-a-days.
What does a training session for you look like?
The crazy thing is we do five rounds of pad work and then 15 minutes on the Stairmaster and treadmill each.
What about weights and sparring?
I don’t lift weights, and I don’t spar—it’s hard to find guys my size and guys I trust.
Do you use any special gear when you train?
No. I just wear my Assembly clothing. I don’t even wear fight clothes—no mouthpiece and just 22-ounce boxing gloves.
I’ve been eating chicken breasts, white rice, my grains, smoothies and stuff like that. I also make sure to drink plenty of water—I don’t have juice or soda—and to watch my sodium intake.
If not your unusual training habits, what’s taken you this far?
I believe that my power and my heart carried me this far. You know, it don’t have nothing to do about my technique. I laugh sometimes when people say I’m an elite athlete. I believe that I’m not.
What was sweeter? Knocking out Volkov at UFC 229 or doubling your Instagram following, overnight, after your interview?
Oh, I don’t care about social media. So, knocking out Volkov because he was undefeated in the UFC.
Your fellow heavyweight, Curtis Blaydes said that the only reason you’re getting this title shot is because of your huge following, that it’s just a popularity contest. What do you think about that?
That’s my first time hearing about it. I don’t care. If he thinks that, fine. I hope that [Francis] Ngannou knocks his head off on November 25. He’s trying to get his resume out there, I don’t blame him—I’d probably be doing the same thing in his position.
Its really spending time with my kids. Cracking jokes with them, making them laugh, making sure everything is good around the home. [Fighting] is just a job to me. Like the week that I be gone I miss them more than anything. Then, I just wait until I just get tired of being around them and I try to go out or whatever and have a few drinks.