Derrick Lewis explains why he turned down short-notice UFC Brooklyn fight with Stipe Miocic

Derrick Lewis

Derrick Lewis isn’t set to step back into the cage until Mar. 9 but “The Black Beast” nearly fought on this Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+1 card in Brooklyn, NY.

That’s according to Lewis who said he was asked to face former UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, however he turned down the matchup because he needed more time off.

Lewis revealed the news on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show at the 13:59 mark of the clip below.

“They wanted me to fight Stipe on short-notice,” he said. “I wanted some time off. I would still fight Stipe, but not right now. Not so soon. Especially fighting a guy like DC, who’s more of a wrestler, then going in to fight Stipe… You know I wanted some time off.”

Derrick Lewis (21-6) is instead scheduled to face former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos in the main event of UFC on ESPN+4 in Wichita, Kansas. The 33-year-old is coming off a submission loss to heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 230, which snapped his three-fight win streak. Prior to that, Lewis had defeated Marcin Tybura, Francis Ngannou and earned one of the best come-from-behind wins in MMA history defeating Alexander Volkov with just a second left at UFC 229.

Since starting his UFC career off 3-2, Lewis has gone 9-2 in the octagon and become one of the biggest fan favorites in the sport.

Stipe Miocic (18-3) is still looking for a fight and called out Daniel Comrier again for a rematch before “DC’s” 40th birthday on Mar. 20. The 36-year-old firefighter hasn’t competed since he lost the title to Cormier at UFC 226 which snapped his six-fight win streak.

Miocic boasts wins over former UFC champions Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos. The Strong Style Fight Team product has never taken more than a year off from the cage since starting his UFC career back in Oct. 2011. Miocic has also never lost back-to-back fights in his 21-fight career.

UFC on ESPN+1 takes place this Saturday in Brooklyn, NY at The Barclays Center. The main event features flyweight champion Henry Cejudo defending his title against current bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw.

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Would you have preferred to see Derrick Lewis fight Stipe Miocic instead of Junior Dos Santos? Let us know in the comments section below.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/15/2019.