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Things Derrick Lewis doesn't care about: Brock Lesnar, Stipe Miocic or UFC title belt

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LAS VEGAS – If Derrick Lewis hadn’t accepted a heavyweight title fight with Daniel Cormier, he’d be in Los Angeles talking to Joe Rogan.

“Baked,” Lewis told reporters on Thursday. “High as hell right now, probably.”

After pulling off the greatest statistical comeback in promotional history at UFC 229, Lewis (21-5 MMA, 12-3 UFC) hasn’t taken much of a rest. For the first time in his career, he said, he’s training like a real MMA fighter.

Usually, Lewis doesn’t run back into the gym like other fighters. In fact, he almost needs to be dragged in by his coaches, and even then, he’s only there for 30 minutes, he insists. Five of that, he joked, is taken up posting memes he found on the internet.

Lewis professes that he’s taking his sudden title shot seriously. But don’t expect him to start caring for the conventions that drive the behavior of so many colleagues.

For starters, the belt. If he beats Cormier (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) on Nov. 3 at UFC 230, it’s going in his closet.

“I will try to win the belt, but I really don’t care about if I get it or not,” Lewis said.

That goes double for respect. Whether or not opponents respect the 9-1 run that’s led him to a title shot, he couldn’t care less.

“I’m not a mixed martial artist,” Lewis said. “That’s probably what they’re looking at. I don’t blame them. I don’t train like a mixed martial artist. I don’t respect the sport like everyone else does. I’m just a brawler.

“I go in and fight just to fight. I don’t care about the submissions and the technique, and the bowing and showing respect. I don’t care about none of that. I’m just coming to fight.”

Lewis, of course, is more than just a brawler. He’s a brawler with a gift for making people laugh at him and with him. When he took off his shorts and complained about his nether regions after knocking out Alexander Volkov, it might very well have sealed his opportunity to fight for the belt.

But of course, Lewis doesn’t really care about the circumstances that led him here, or whether Cormier takes him seriously. This is his shot. As long as it gets him closer to money, the thing he really cares about, it’s all good.

Lately, fighting has been very good to him. Lewis estimates his finish of Volkov was worth a cool $1 million. He said he’ll make more from UFC 230 than he did for all of his previous fights this year, which included a disclosed $260,000 for his decision over Francis Ngannou and $270,000 for the Volkov win (that also earned him a $50,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus).

If he manages to pull off the upset against Cormier at Madison Square Garden, it’s possible Lewis could steal away an opportunity to fight ex-champ Brock Lesnar, who Cormier targets as his next challenge. That bout would undoubtedly put more zeroes on the end of Lewis’ paycheck, or at least more than a fight with ex-champ Stipe Miocic, the rightful No. 1 contender in his eyes.

But again, not a care – at least yet.

“It doesn’t matter who’s next,” Lewis said. “I still believe Stipe probably should have been next, because all the people that lost their belt, they got a title shot right back.

“If it’s Miocic or Lesnar, that’s fine. Whatever the UFC wants to pay me for, that’s fine. I don’t care who’s next.”

For more on UFC 230, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.



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