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Tai Tuivasa details how he accepted Derrick Lewis fight while ‘blind’ drunk

Tai Tuivasa shares the moment he received word that he’d be fighting Derrick Lewis next.

If there was one fight where the stars aligned perfectly, it would be UFC 271’s co-headliner between heavyweight bangers Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa. Neither man has been in boring fights, at least as of late, and as a fan, you have some sort of a guarantee that you’ll get your money’s worth.

The number three-ranked “Black Beast” is definitely a huge step up in competition for “Bam Bam,” who is at the number 11 spot in the rankings. But if you ask Tuivasa, the moment he found out about the Lewis fight was a bit blurry.

“I was on the piss; I was blind [drunk],” Tuivasa told ESPN. “I didn’t notice until the next morning that [UFC matchmaker] Mick Maynard messaged me and I had messaged back. He messaged, ‘Are you awake,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah’; it was like 4:30 in the morning.

“And then I woke up to 20 missed calls from my manager, from my coach Sully [Shaun Sullivan] and shit like that, so I was like, ‘Something must have happened.’”

Tuivasa, of course, said yes in a heartbeat.

“And then it came up, and why not? Why wouldn’t I? It’s a great opportunity,” he said. Obviously, he’s No. 2 or No. 3 or whatever he is. He’s a fan favorite; I’m a fan favorite. I really respect Derrick, what he’s done and the person he is.

“Why wouldn’t I say yes? I think it’s all win-win, it’s an opportunity for me, so I’m all in. And I think it’s my time, it’s my time to take over and become the new [revered] fighter of my generation, just like he was before me. I think it’s my time to take over.”

From the outside looking in, it would be a headache to predict who wins this battle between two KO artists. But the 28-year-old Australian knows where his strengths lie.

“I’m younger, I think I’m faster, I’ve got the aggression, and my style is probably going to be really hard for him,” Tuivasa said. “But I’ll worry about me; Derrick’s the same, as he worries about himself and what he’s good at. So that’s what the fight’s going to be.

“It’s going to be a battle of that — who’s going to land the shot first, and who’s going to execute it the best. And I feel like I’ve got what it takes to put him away.”

UFC 271 happens on February 12 at the Toyota Center in Houston. Headlining the event is a middleweight title rematch between Israel Adesanya and former champion Robert Whittaker.