Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane met at the Toyota Centre in Houston for UFC 265 in August 2021. The outcome was not what Lewis anticipated as the fight was over in the third round with Gane taking home the victors.
Following Lewis’s fight with Gane, he revealed that fighting at home was stressful for him and the outcome would have been a lot different had it not been for all the pressure and stress associated with being in the ring in his hometown of Houston.
Lewis in an interview on ‘The MMA Hour’ explained:
“I don’t even want to experience that ever again,” Lewis said (h/t MMAFighting). “It was too much pressure, too much pressure. Too much. To the point where I really was calling people up, let me get some weed off ‘em so I can relax my nerves during fight day. That type of pressure,” he added.
Lewis went on to compare the pressure of fighting in front of his hometown crowd with an experience he had with the law when he was much younger. It was approximately 13 years ago that Lewis finished serving three and a half years of a five year sentence for aggravated assault.
“Never felt it that bad,” Lewis said. “Actually, before court. Before I went to court, before they gave me some time to go to prison. That’s the other time I felt so much pressure, but other than that it was the Houston card. It was pretty bad as well.”
“[UFC 265] was the same day that I got out, the same day I fought. It was, like, 13 years to that day, it was the same day I was released. So I put a lot of pressure on myself as well because it would have made a great story. From the worst of times to the best of times.”
Derrick Lewis continued to describe his thoughts after the loss to Gane:
“I don’t think it was like a weight lifted,” Lewis said of his feelings after the fight. “Just real embarrassed. I felt embarrassed to fight. Felt embarrassed, I felt like I should have did a lot more than what I did. I was gun-shy the whole fight. I didn’t want to pull the trigger and I was too stationary. It’s a lot of stuff.”
“I could go on and on about a lot of things that I should have done different in that fight, but it just didn’t happen, so you’ve got to just move on and just better myself. If that time comes again and we face each other again, it will be a different outcome, I believe.”“I say that all the time,” Lewis said.
“I believe so, all the time. My coaches believe that as well. Everyone believes it would have been a lot different if it wasn’t in Houston. On that big of a stage and all of that stuff going on, I don’t believe the outcome would have ended like it did.”
It should be noted that Lewis, ranked the number four heavyweight in the ‘MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings’ has won several fights over the past seven years including wins over Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov.
All that being said, Derrick Lewis is scheduled to fight Tai Tuivasa on February 12th at UFC 271 back in his hometown at the Toyota Center in Houston. The Lewis (26-8 MMA) and Tuivasa (14-3 MMA) matchup should be a fan favorite as both fighters are enjoying stellar records.
The question to be asked is whether Lewis can put all the pressure of fighting in front of the hometown crowd behind him or if the outcome with be a mirror image of what happened with Gane back in August of last year.
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