Tai Tuivasa has confessed that he accepted a co-main event fight with ‘The Black Beast’ Derrick Lewis at UFC 271 while he was ‘blind drunk’, but in the cold light of day he’s still happy with the match-up.
“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.’
“And then it came up, and why not? Why wouldn’t I? It’s a great opportunity. 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.”
Lewis is currently the No.3 contender at heavyweight, while Tuivasa is No.11, so it certainly could be a great chance to push himself firmly into the Top 10, and he believes he also has advantages over the former title contender too.
“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.”