Issue 205

May 2024

Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis is known for his incredible punching power and his ability to captivate the MMA community with his one-of-a-kind post-fight interviews. After claiming another KO victory in UFC’s Fight Night on the 12th of May 2024, he’s bolstered his already record-breaking resume and cemented his legacy as the greatest knockout artist the UFC has ever had. Isaac Barnett looks back at five fights that have defined his decade-long career in the UFC.

Jack May, UFC on FOX: Werdum vs Browne, April 19, 2014

Lewis already had a reputation for his brawler style and finishing ability before making his UFC debut in 2014, having already amassed a record of 8-2.

May was undefeated with a record of 7-0 and known to have good kickboxing skills, adapting a traditional Maui Thai stance, which he displayed early in the fight, landing two heavy low kicks on Lewis.

Lewis shot a takedown not long after to take May’s ability on the feet out of the fight.

May, however, was a student of Erik Paulson, an incredibly knowledgeable grappler, so his ground game was nothing to shy away from, and he quickly displayed his skill by reversing Lewis from the bottom position.

Before long May had full mount on Lewis and controlled him for most of the round, but he failed to land any meaningful shots.

Lewis collected his composure and exploded out of the position, reversing May and ending up on top, landing heavy ground and pound shots to May’s temple.

The referee called a stop to the contest after May was no longer fighting back, earning “The Black Beast” a TKO victory for his UFC debut.

Francis Ngannou, UFC 226: Miocic vs Cormier, July 8, 2018

The UFC hyped this fight up to be a guaranteed knockout, warranting its place as the co-main event for UFC 226.

The winner was tipped to be the next challenger for the Heavyweight title, so all the marbles were on the line for both fighters.

Ngannou was coming off his first fight against Miocic, and it was clear there were still some physiological cobwebs after that loss.

The fight was nothing short of bizarre. The first round could have been argued as a feeling-out round at the time, with both fighters knowing the power their opponent possessed.

Neither fighter took any risk or even attempted to engage, for that matter. Ngannou landed one strike in the first round, and Lewis landed just five.

Herb Dean warned the two fighters in the second round that there needed to be more action, and the judges needed something to judge, and deafening boos echoed around the T-Mobile Arena.

Ngannou did land more than Lewis in the second round, but still, just single digits landed for both fighters, six for Ngannou and four for Lewis.

The final round was more of the same. Lewis landed 11 strikes while Ngannou landed just four, taking the total strike for a three-round fight 31 between the two heavyweights.

Lewis won via unanimous decision, but by his expression, he wasn’t happy with his victory.

Alexander Volkov, UFC 229: Nurmagomedov vs McGregor, October 7, 2018

UFC 229 was the most-watched UFC PPV event in the promotion's history, with the Nurmagomedov vs McGregor fight needing no introduction.

Following the Ngannou fight, Lewis came into the Volkov fight looking to redeem himself after a lackluster performance, and with how many PPVs UFC 229 had sold at the time, he had a huge opportunity to raise his stock.

Volkov was a tough matchup for Lewis, known for staying on the outside by using kicks and jabs to set up the other weapons from his vast arsenal.

The majority of the fight was exactly that. Volkov kept Lewis at range for most of the fight, with the odd warning sign from Lewis that he was still a danger.

Coming into the third round, it was clear that Lewis needed a finish to win, and from the brink of defeat, “the Black Beast” unleashed a right hand from hell with just 17 seconds left in the fight.

Volkov went clattering to the ground, and Lewis finished the fight with what was now signature ground-and-pound strikes.

The finish boosted his stock, and his incredible post-fight interview made him a star almost overnight.

He strangely removed his fight shorts in the octagon, and Joe Rogan asked him why. He responded by saying, “Because my balls were hot,” a now iconic statement in the world of MMA.

Daniel Cormier, UFC230: Cormier vs Lewis, November 4, 2018

Cormier is one of the greatest fighters this sport has ever seen, and he showed that against Lewis.

The former Olympic wrestler displayed his skill on Lewis throughout their bout, with Lewis struggling to cope with Cormier’s incredible skill.

This was Lewis’s first UFC title shot, and coming off of his Volkov victory, the expectations were high from fans.

The first round saw “DC” control Lewis by landing multiple takedowns and connecting with some strong hammer fists from half guard.

The second round was a lot of the same. Lewis tried to land a few big shots on the feet, but they were highly telegraphed, so Cormier easily avoided them and then landed yet another takedown.

This time, however, Lewis gave the champ his back, allowing “DC” to sink his hooks in and secure a rear naked choke.

Lewis was undoubtedly disappointed, but that fight showed he had a lot of work to do if he wanted to win the heavyweight title.

Curtis Blaydes, UFC FIGHT NIGHT: Blaydes vs Lewis, February 21, 2021

Among all 15 of his knockout victories in the UFC, Lewis’s knockout of Blaydes could easily be in the argument for his best.

The UFC Apex events were in full swing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was an interesting time because these events had no fans spectating at the time.

Lewis and Blaydes clearly disliked each other going into the bout, making what was to come even more satisfying for Lewis.

The first round saw the two fighters have plenty of intense exchanges on the feet, Lewis even stunning Blaydes in one of them.

But, in the second round, Lewis shut the lights out, landing a crunching uppercut on Blaydes while he was shooting for a takedown, completely flatlining him.

Speaking to Rogan on the JRE, Lewis said:

“It felt really good to knock him out because he was talking a lot of trash before the fight. Even whenever I was doing good though, he was talking about three years.

“We practiced that (uppercut) for a couple of months, either the knee or the uppercut we knew he was going to be there. We knew he was going to try and play the game and stand up for a little bit.

“The way he shoots, he doesn’t shoot like a real wrestler. He shoots from the hip down and doesn’t bend the knee to try and come in.”

In a career filled with highlight-reel knockouts and unforgettable moments, Derrick Lewis has repeatedly proven why he's regarded as the UFC's greatest knockout artist. As we reflect on these five pivotal fights, it's clear that Derrick Lewis's story is far from over. With every punch thrown and every victory claimed, he continues to write his legend, one knockout at a time.