If you’re talking about a force to reckon with in the UFC’s heavyweight division, you can’t omit Derrick Lewis’ name from the list.
The number-three ranked Lewis has established a reputation as a knockout artist who could shut your lights off with either hand. He also has the personality to boot, making him one of the most beloved fighters today.
The only thing that’s missing from Lewis’ resumé is a UFC title. The 36-year-old competitor failed at both of his title bids against Daniel Cormier and Ciryl Gane, most recently.
Based on the rankings, at least, you can put Lewis at the front of the line for the next title shot. But as far as observers like former referee “Big John” McCarthy is concerned, “The Black Beast” likely isn’t getting that gold belt wrapped around his waist.
“First off, he’s not glorified. Let’s just be honest. He’s not glorified in any fashion,” McCarthy told Weighing In podcast co-host Josh Thomson. “He is a gatekeeper, though, because he’s been given two title shots. He had the one against Cormier, he lost that one. He had the interim one against Ciryl Gane, he lost that one.”
McCarthy says that Lewis will likely have a hard time against technical fighters, which ultimately lowers his chances of capturing UFC gold.
“Derrick is that guy that, look, he can fight. He’s tough. He’s got certain aspects of the fighting game that he is incredibly powerful at. His ground-and-pound is mean, he is super strong. But technical guys are gonna give him fits,” he said.
“Is he ever gonna be that guy that’s gonna be the champion? I don’t think so. I don’t think he’s got that. When you’re looking at him if you’re the UFC, you’re saying, ‘We’re gonna see. If you can beat Derrick Lewis, you’re in this upper tier of the guys we’re gonna think about putting a title fight. If you can’t, it’s saying something about you.’”
Lewis (26-8, 1 NC) is coming off a first-round knockout win over Chris Daukaus at UFC Vegas 45 this past weekend. Because of that win, he is now the UFC’s record holder for most KO victories in company history with 13.