When you’re caught in a potentially fight-ending submission a lot of thoughts likely run through your head, but perhaps not the ones that seemed most prominent in Derrick Lewis’ mind last night at UFC On ESPN+ 32.
Caught in a tight scarf hold by submission expert Aleksei Oleinik, lewis was apparently more concerned about whether people watching could hear the involuntary sounds he was making and what his kids were thinking rather than the prospect of being sent to sleep.
“I was wishing there were crowds in the stands because I was snorting, making a funny noise while he was choking the hell out of my neck,” Lewis recalled at the post-fight presser. “I was like, ‘damn, I’m making too much noise. I wonder if they can hear it on TV.’ So I can’t tap like that. I know my kids watching. They would tease me forever.”
Truth be told though, Lewis had been training hard to defend himself if he was caught in that exact position and so as uncomfortable as it was, he knew what to do, and along with his mental fortitude that enabled him to survive until the second round.
“He fought just like we thought he was going to fight. The submission defense by him holding my neck like that is what we practiced all week – really the last two weeks, the elbow tuck and turn into him. We (saw) him do that bulldog choke. You don’t want to get tapped on your neck like that, so I couldn’t tap.”
Lewis would then go on to TKO Oleinik early in the second round and now he has his sights set on other top contenders in the heavyweight division.
“Curtis Blaydes makes sense. (Francis) Ngnannou makes sense. (Alistair) Overeem makes sense. That’s about it. We’ll see what happens next week and see who makes sense after that match. I for sure have to get down 15-20 pounds to feel comfortable in there. Yep, then you’ll really see something scary out of me, for sure.”