Junior dos Santos is a former UFC heavyweight champion and one of the most dangerous punchers in MMA history. Derrick Lewis, however, isn’t too impressed by the Brazilian.
Lewis discredited the skills of dos Santos, who he’ll meet in the main event of UFC Wichita on March 9, in a recent interview with Helen Yee.
“He’s probably the weakest guy that I’m gonna fight out of the guys that I’ve fought before,” Lewis said (transcript via MMA Fighting). “He’s probably like the fifth or the sixth guy. I don’t think he’s the toughest guy I’ve ever fought so we’ll see on March 9th.”
Derrick Lewis went on to concede that, in the heavyweight division, where every fighter packs fight-altering knockout power, anything can happen at any moment. That being said, he’s confident he can knock Junior dos Santos out whenever he decides to pull the trigger.
“It’s like I say all the time, it’s the heavyweight division,” Lewis explained. “It doesn’t matter if the guy’s a black belt or if he’s a world-class boxer. We still have a 50-50 chance. We’re heavyweights, so it’s just gonna take one punch.
“… Really, [I’ll finish the fight] whatever round I want. If I want to end the fight in the first, I’ll end the fight in the first. If I want to end the fight in the fifth, I’ll end the fight then. So it’s just whenever I get ready to.”
If Derrick Lewis is able to dispatch of Junior dos Santos as he expects, he’s hoping it will set up a fight with another former heavyweight champion in Stipe Miocic. Lewis was offered a short-notice fight with Miocic in January, but elected to decline given that he’d just competed in November. That said, it’s still a fight he’s interested in.
“Hopefully everything goes good with the JDS fight and we get it back in there real quick with Stipe,” said Lewis. “It really don’t matter who I fight next. He’s just right there and he called me out before. They had me booked with JDS while he called me out so I’m just gonna go ahead and call him out before this fight.”
Do you think Derrick Lewis is underestimating Junior dos Santos? We will find out on March 9 when the pair collide at UFC Wichita on ESPN+ (get a free trial here).
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/27/2019.