The UFC is going to have to find another heavyweight to call last minute and fill out fight cards. After fighting with a bad knee injury for four years, Derrick Lewis is finally getting surgery to repair the issue, a procedure that will take him til November at the earliest to recover from.
Stories of Lewis’ bum knee started swirling shortly after his KO loss to Junior dos Santos at the start of March. Now, one day before he’s set to go under the knife, Derrick went on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show to discuss the extent of the injury.
”My ACL is partial tear and my meniscus and MCL is all the way torn,” Lewis said. “So the ACL is hanging on by thread, really. It’s a rare tear, they say. The doctors say the way the angle of the tear is, my knee was bent the opposite way, so I told them about my fight with Ruan Potts, he got me in a kneebar and it was pretty tight and I heard it pop when he did it. But I still got out of the submission. And they said they could tell it was a few years since the injury happened because the way it was growing back, it wasn’t growing right.”
The Ruan Potts fight went down at UFC 184 in February of 2015. That’s a long time to be fighting with a jacked up knee. But Derrick says the issue didn’t start affecting his performance until recently.
”The Daniel Cormier fight, I couldn’t stop the takedowns. I didn’t have any strength in my leg,” Lewis said. “I wanted to step my training up before the JDS fight, so I was doing a bunch of things I normally don’t do in training and it was really bothering me. And I told my coaches, ‘Man, my knee is still pretty weak.’”
”I guess it has gotten worse over time so I went to the doctor two weeks before the fight to do x-rays and stuff like that, and the UFC had set everything up. The doctor told them what was torn and what was going on with my knee. And the UFC, all they was worried about was whether I was going to fight.”
”I told them ‘Yeah I’m going to fight, don’t worry about it.’ And they called again the next day asking if I’m still gonna fight. I say ‘Yeah, I’m still going to fight. Don’t ask me no more, I’m still going to fight.’”
That was a decision his coach Bob Perez disagreed with.
”He didn’t want me to fight,” Lewis said. “I told them I’ve been fighting like this for a long time and there ain’t no way I’m going to back out now two weeks before the fight. I pulled out before due to an injury, I was in a real bad state of mind right after that. I hate doing it.”
But Lewis is now on a two fight losing streak, and he understands that a third could take him out of the contender’s circle. So now he’s taking the time to get the surgery and prepare for another big chapter in his fighting career.
”Whenever I get back healthy and everything, I should be in the best shape of my life,” he said. “Because I’m really focused on my weight and martial arts, period. Come out there and really give the fans something to look forward too, for sure.”
Lewis plans on dropping a lot of extra weight during his downtime, going from 290 to 250 pounds.
”250 would be the ideal weight,” Lewis said. “So I’ll be in a bed at least a month straight, so hopefully I lose some weight then. Popeyes don’t deliver, so we’ll see what happens.”