‘He Wanted To Go And Play in The Sand’- Derrick Lewis Takes A Dig At Francis Ngannou For Turning Down the Title Fight

Published 07/11/2021, 12:45 PM EDT
Jul 7, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Francis Ngannou (red gloves) fights Derrick Lewis (blue gloves) during UFC 226 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Current UFC undisputed heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou received a shocker recently after the promotion sidelined him and proceeded towards an interim heavyweight clash. The UFC went ahead with Derrick Lewis (originally touted to fight Ngannou) against Ciryl Gane for the UFC 265 headliner.


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The news made headlines alongside the post-announcement drama. Ngannou and his team targeted the promotion for the decision and the UFC, led by Dana White, had a scathing response to the allegations set by Ngannou and his team.

It is reported that Ngannou took some time off and returned to his homeland. He recently returned to the US and asked for some time off to prepare. The UFC was adamant about making the heavyweight title fight between June to August. But Francis made him unavailable till September.

Lewis, who was present during the recently concluded UFC 264 event, appeared for an interview backstage. He talked about his next fight with Gane and also had an interesting take on Ngannou being sidelined.

“Well, if he wanted to go and play in the sand and stuff like that, we got a business to run over here, so that’s on him,” ‘The Black Beast’ hilariously aimed his words at Ngannou.

Lewis is one of the only two fighters in UFC to have a win against ‘The Predator’. The reporter asked Lewis about his improvement since the last time he faced Ngannou.


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“I believe I have improved a whole lot. I have been taking my fight camps and my training and everything just way more seriously than I used to,” he said.

Derrick Lewis on fighting an undefeated Ciryl Gane

Lewis has been on a rampage lately as he has picked 4 straight wins, including two recent KO/TKO wins. But he will be up against a man who hasn’t tasted a defeat yet in his professional career.

Talking about Gane, ‘The Black Beast’ praised the Frenchman and his team for their consistency. But he also sent a warning as claims he has beaten a lot of undefeated guys through his 32 professional fights history.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 20: (L-R) Derrick Lewis punches Curtis Blaydes in a heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“I am here for the challenge and none of that fazes me at all,” he added.


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It will be an interesting fight, considering both are known for the different domains they possess. While Lewis is an outright striking machine, Gane likes to take his game a bit deeper. The interim title beckons the two at UFC 265.

What did you make of Lewis’ comment on Ngannou?


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Akshyay Srichandan Mahapatra

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Akshyay Mahapatra is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He wished to combine his passion for the UFC (that he has been following since 2008) as well as his love for writing. This motivated him to enter the world of combat sports journalism.