Derrick Lewis was candidly open about his dreadful fight with feared heavyweight knockout artist Francis Ngannou at UFC 226, telling reporters at the post-fight press conference that his ‘terrible performance’ probably set him back at least two fights.
“It was a terrible performance,” Lewis said, per MMA Fighting’s Alexander K. Lee. “I know I say that a lot but it was a real bad performance. I know for sure I don’t deserve a title shot. I believe it hurt me more than it helped me, even though I got the win. I believe it set me probably about two fights back.”
Despite landing just 20 strikes in fifteen minutes, ‘The Black Beast’ walked away with a unanimous decision win. Ngannou, who is known for his aggression and knockout power, landed only 11 total strikes and was ridiculed by UFC president Dana White at the post-fight press conference.
Lewis made no excuses for his antics on Saturday night but claims his back was ‘killing’ him in the co-main event. The heavyweight slugger has suffered with back problems in the past and was forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout with Fabricio Werdum at UFC 216.
“For sure, my back was killing me,” Lewis said. “All I wanted to do was just sit down and stay on that bench.
“Nah, I believe it’s all my fault because I’m the one that called him out and I should have really pushed the pace, but I also had to fight smart too because he is very dangerous on the feet”.
According to Lewis, the strategy was to take Ngannou down and pummel him on the mat. But the 33-year-old says he doesn’t know how execute takedowns effectively.
“Really, the game plan was to take his ass down, and I already told my coach I don’t know how to take down,” Lewis said. “I don’t know how to do takedowns.”
After UFC 226, Lewis wants to take some time off and ‘learn some more technique or something’.
“My ass needs to sit down somewhere and learn some more technique or something,” he said. “I don’t deserve to call anyone out with a performance like that. I don’t care if he is the No. 1 contender. I believe I shouldn’t be fighting no one, really, with a performance like that.”
According to FightMetric, Ngannou vs. Lewis almost set a record for the fewest strikes landed in a three-round UFC fight, with both fighters landing just 31 strikes between them.