Former UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier believes Derrick Lewis is potentially a harder puncher than Francis Ngannou.
Lewis and Ngannou, the UFC’s No. 1 and 2-ranked heavyweights, are widely accepted as the hardest punchers in mixed martial arts at present. Deciding which man punches harder, however, has been the subject of much debate among fight fans.
According to Cormier, the answer is probably Lewis.
To support his argument, Cormier points to Lewis’ 2018 decision win over Francis Ngannou. While that fight is widely regarded as one of the most boring in UFC history, Cormier believes that’s in large part due to Ngannou’s fear of Lewis’ power.
Cormier made his case for Lewis being the hardest puncher in the UFC not long after Lewis shut the lights out on Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19 last weekend.
“People, there is a reason Francis Ngannou was so tentative in his fight with Derrick Lewis,” Cormier said on DC & Helwani. “He stood and took pictures with Derrick Lewis because of the power coming back in his direction. So let’s not go acting as if Derrick Lewis doesn’t have the power to match anyone in the heavyweight division—even Francis Ngannou.”
Cormier knows Lewis quite well, having defended the UFC heavyweight title with a submission win over the fearsome knockout artist in 2018. His argument that Lewis is the hardest hitter in the UFC certainly has some merit based on the fact that Lewis has scored more knockout wins than any other heavyweight in UFC history.
That being said, Ngannou is behind some of the most violent knockouts in UFC history, most notably a 2018 defeat of Alistair Overeem. He also works quickly. He’s currently riding four straight knockout wins over Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik—all of which occurred in less than three minutes combined.
Are you with Daniel Cormier on this one? Who do you consider the hardest hitter in the UFC heavyweight division?