Heavyweight knockout artist Derrick Lewis would ideally like another crack at Francis Ngannou in his next fight. But there are more pressing issues than the name on the next bout agreement he signs.
“Right now, we’re just trying to renegotiate the contract and see where it goes from there,” Lewis said on “The Joe Rogan Experience” this past Friday.
Ngannou is set for his own rematch against champ Stipe Miocic later this month at UFC 260. Rather than wait for the winner, Lewis would take any top-ranked opponent that he hasn’t yet fought – a list that grows shorter by the year.
So while Lewis “for sure” wants to fight Ngannou again and has “got to get that one,” he said it’s more important he ties up his business with the UFC and then makes a quick turnaround.
“For me, I want to stay active,” he said. “I don’t want to be waiting around to fight anyone. I’m not young like I used to [be]. So I don’t want to wait around and fight for the title, or wait around to fight a certain opponent. So I’m willing to fight anyone who’s ready.”
Lewis, who this past month knocked out Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19, said Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane were on the list of prospective opponents. But with the former’s loss to the latter in a lackluster fight this past month, that option lost a lot of heat. For Lewis, the result also brought him back to his first meeting with Ngannou, one he’d rather forget.
“I started getting tagged in the fight [on social media], only because they were saying that [Gane vs. Rozenstruik] still wasn’t worse than Francis and Lewis fight,” Lewis said. “I’m like, ‘Damn. OK. Sh*t.’”
The UFC 226 meeting between Lewis and Ngannou was one of the most highly anticipated fights in recent heavyweight history. Instead, it wound up a dud as neither fighter was willing to engage over three rounds. Lewis won a decision, but felt like a loser afterward.
With a rematch against Ngannou, Lewis could get a chance to right that wrong, and Ngannou could be the next champ if he’s successful against Miocic. But for Lewis, his career is not about capturing the belt.
“I know my window of time is closing … to make money,” he said. “I don’t have that much time left, so I just want to make money, not just sit around and wait.”
Plus, Lewis said, there’s only so much more time he can physically put his body through the rigors of a training camp. He isn’t willing to put a timeframe on it, but when it happens, he’ll know pretty quick.
“It all depends, if my body says, ‘Sit your ass down,’ or we can keep going,” he said. “It also depends on the money. If the money keeps getting better like it is, we’ll keep going until the UFC says, ‘Alright, we’ll holler at you.’”