Derrick Lewis was not shocked to hear that Francis Ngannou’s mental state was what diminished his performance at UFC 226. Lewis was more shocked that Ngannou admitted it.
“To me, whenever he stepped inside the Octagon, he looked scared from the get-go,” Lewis explained Monday on The MMA Hour.
“He wasn’t the same guy that I saw at the weigh-ins. Like, his facial expressions and his emotions and everything, it wasn’t the same. So all of that right there, that threw me off in the fight too, because I didn’t believe that he was really that scared of me, but the look in his eyes, it really did show that he was scared.”
Ngannou’s mental block coupled with Lewis’ lingering back injury would lead to what many called the worst fight in the history of UFC, where Ngannou landed only 11 total strikes in the 15 minute fight.
Many think his mental edge was taken away after a UFC 200 loss to then heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 220, where Ngannou would be hit with 200 strikes across the whole fight.
“I was confused too. I tried to make him engage,” Lewis said of trying to bring Ngannou out of his shell during the fight. “I did a couple of things to try to make him engage, and he just wouldn’t do it.
“I tried to do a little bit more than him and it just was weird to me too, the whole fight, so I don’t know. I don’t know what was going on.”
Lewis admitted the fight wasn’t his best, but he believes the claim of it being one of the worst fights in UFC history was a bit over-stated.
“I finally watched it, and I thought it wasn’t that bad. Not the way that Joe Rogan was making it sound like,” Lewis said.
“It wasn’t that [bad], I’ve seen worse fights than that. By him saying that, then that’s what everybody else believes — ‘oh yeah, that’s the worst fight ever.’ Man, it’s not even the worst fight ever. The only reason why I guess they’re saying that it’s the worst fight ever is because they expected so much between me and him, they expected fireworks the whole three rounds and it wasn’t. I expected the same thing. I was disappointed that it wasn’t an entertaining fight as well.”
Lewis is currently slated to meet Alexander Volkov on Oct. 6 in the co-main event of UFC 229.
Initial Report: MMA Fighting