Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
MMA analyst Kenny Florian believes UFC Fight Night 110 headliner Derrick Lewis is going to be an integral part of the UFC heavyweight division for the foreseeable future, and that’s because he brings a unique package to the table.
Lewis (18-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC), who meets Mark Hunt (12-11-1 MMA, 7-5-1 UFC) in the main event of Saturday’s FS1-televised card at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand (early prelims stream on UFC Fight Pass), has needed just over three years in the UFC to become a fan favorite.
Not only does “The Black Beast” deliver violent knockouts at a consist rate, but his skills are complemented by an edgy (and oftentimes crude) personality, which has gained him a solid following in a short time.
Although Lewis, No. 7 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, has already beaten some solid veterans such as Travis Browne, Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga in the midst of his current six-fight UFC winning streak, the matchup with No. 11-ranked Hunt is his most significant to date.
Lewis specifically requested the bout, and Florian, who serves as an FS1 studio analyst for all UFC Fight Night 110 programming, said that’s a commendable action and reason why Lewis has quickly caught momentum.
“What’s so cool is Derrick Lewis, out of all the people he could call out, he calls out Mark Hunt,” Florian told MMAjunkie Radio. “I think it shows that this is a guy who is willing to stand and trade, and he wants to put on exciting fights. First and foremost, this guy is an entertainer.
“He’s hilarious if you look at his Instagram. He’s very, very funny. He does want to go out and be entertaining; he wants to be remembered. You’ve go to respect that. Not a lot of people who are strikers are going to call out Mark Hunt.”
Lewis told MMAjunkie prior to UFC Fight Night 110 that he asked for Hunt because he considers “The Super Samoan” to be the toughest member of the UFC heavyweight division. Hunt may not have the prettiest of records when it comes to wins and losses, but he’s competed against the very best for more than a decade.
Florian feels that, win or lose, Hunt will help answer more questions about the extent of Lewis’ ability. There aren’t many capable of out-striking the former K-1 champion, but if Lewis can pick up his ninth knockout in 10 octagon victories, it would be a testament of where he belongs in the division, Florian said.
“I think that Derrick Lewis definitely can be a cleaner fighter,” Florian said. “There’s still a lot for him to learn. As far as beating someone like Mark Hunt, yeah, that puts him on the top, especially considering the fact he just beat Travis Browne.”
If it were up to him, Lewis would be next to challenge heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic (17-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC) if he can get past Hunt. Lewis said he matches up up very well with the current champ and would be confident in a title bout.
Florian (14-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC), who fought for a UFC title three times before retiring in May 2012, is not as willing to commit to the idea of Lewis being the one to dethrone Miocic. However, he does know a victory would validate him on an even greater level.
“He’s on a little win-streak here, (and) he’s a marketable guy as well,” Florian said. “I definitely think a win over Mark Hunt puts him right there near the top. The heavyweight division is kind of light (on talent), no pun intended. I think it puts him in a good position.”
For more on UFC Fight Night 110, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie