In a rare example of a fight where a knockout is almost guaranteed, #3-ranked Lewis and #11-ranked Tuivasa will meet in Houston’s Toyota Center for an Octagon-sharing heavyweight collision on February 12.
For “Bam Bam,” the co-main event contest will represent the opportunity for him to extend his win streak to five and climb to within touching distance of a title shot that was beyond unlikely just two years ago.
Lewis, meanwhile, fell short of UFC gold again last August when he was finished by Ciryl Gane at UFC 265. Now, “The Black Beast” is after fun and pressure-free fights for the remainder of his UFC days. There aren’t many fighters who encapsulate the word “fun” quite like Tuivasa.
While a clash with Lewis would be seen as a daunting task by most, and also a fantastic opportunity for Tuivasa to rise the ranks, “Bam Bam” has revealed he may not have been thinking clearly when he agreed to trade blows with the Louisiana native…
“I was on the piss; I was blind [drunk],” Tuivasa revealed to 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 sh*t like that, so I was like, ‘Something must have happened.’
“And then it come up, and why not? Why wouldn’t I?” Tuivasa continued. “It’s a great opportunity. Obviously, he’s #2 or #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.”
While a fighter accepting a bout while five-plus beers deep would usually be surprising, this isn’t, for a few reasons.
Firstly, one would imagine you’d have to be slightly intoxicated to accept a fight with Lewis. “The Black Beast” is the most prolific knockout artist in UFC history. Out of his 17 victories in the promotion, 12 have come via knockout. Not only is he a terrifying beast when the cage door shuts, but he’s currently a beast in form, having brutally knocked rising contender Chris Daukaus out cold less than two months ago.
Secondly, Tuivasa is Tuivasa.
I could almost leave it at that, but I’ll provide some context. “Bam Bam,” you could say, is partial to a beverage. Almost in the same way Tom Brady is partial to throwing a football…
From the man who brings us copious amounts of shoeys after each victory and has even created his own drinking device called the “shoeyvasa,” is a drunk fight acceptance all too surprising? It seems like the classic Tuivasa fans have come to know and love.
Lewis Brands Tuivasa’s Shoeys As “Nasty”
Tuivasa’s post-fight shoeys following his first-round KO triumphs over Greg Hardy and Augusto Sakai last year had Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena roaring and fans across the world entertained. But if Lewis could use one word to describe the beer-drinking practice, it would be “nasty.”
During a recent interview on Fox Sports’ Main Event, “The Black Beast” praised Tuivasa for finishing Hardy last July, but also questioned his post-fight tradition. Those expecting a Lewis shoey anytime soon will be bitterly disappointed.
“Yeah, he’s good man. I like him, I like Tai. And I really appreciate him knocking out Greg Hardy like he did in that fight. Greg was talking a lot of trash at me. So I appreciate him,” said Lewis. “But I just don’t like the shoe, the beer drinking out the shoe, what y’all do out there. I don’t like it, that’s nasty. My feet smell cheesy.”
It seems like Lewis’ feet often get hot, as well as his balls…
While Tuivasa has established the shoey as his trademark post-fight celebration, Lewis is yet to bring out a quirky tradition that involves the fans in attendance. That’s except for throwing his cup into the Apex crowd last time out in Vegas.
How about a wager? If Tuivasa wins, Lewis has to do a shoey inside the Octagon, but if Lewis wins, Tuivasa has to take Lewis’ cup home? Although, knowing the Aussie’s care-free attitude, he’d probably frame it and hang it on his wall…
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 271, Tai Tuivasa or Derrick Lewis?