Thursday, December 8, 2022

Derrick Lewis Shares His Thoughts On Anthony Johnson’s Passing

Derrick Lewis is focused on his next fight at UFC Vegas 65, but that didn’t stop him from reflecting on the recent passing of a former UFC title challenger.

The MMA community experienced a significant loss when it was announced that Anthony “Rumble” Johnson had passed away at age 38 following a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

After competing in the UFC from 2007 to 2012 as a welterweight, Johnson returned to the promotion as a light heavyweight in 2014. “Rumble” went on to challenge Daniel Cormier for the UFC’s light heavyweight title on two occasions before spending a few years away from the sport.

Johnson returned to action for Bellator in 2021 and knocked out Jose Augusto Azevedo in what ended up being his final fight.

“Rumble” was considered to be one the hardest hitters in the history of MMA, so it’s somewhat fitting that tonight’s UFC Vegas 65 is headlined by a heavyweight clash between Derrick Lewis and Serghei Spivak.

Lewis Reflects On Johnson’s Death

Lewis cemented his place as one of MMA’s most devastating knockout artists when he fought Chris Daukaus in December of 2021.

“The Black Beast” stopped Daukaus with just under two minutes remaining in the first round, which officially established him as the UFC’s all-time leaders in knockout wins with 13.

A number of fighters have paid their respects in the wake of Johnson’s passing, and at the UFC Vegas 65 media day Lewis was asked for his thoughts and if “Rumble” had any influence on his own career. The 37-year-old took the moment to express his condolences to Johnson’s family and consider how quickly the former UFC fighter’s condition had worsened.

Lewis became the UFC’s all-time leader in knockout wins when he stopped Chris Daukaus in 2021. (Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“It was pretty sad, because we really the same age me and him,” Lewis said. “And to see how healthy he was a year ago, to see how he was the beginning of the year. It’s just like real sad. I didn’t know he was that serious, you know? So my condolences go out to him and his family, and the friends and stuff like that. It’s pretty sad, that’s all.”

“The Black Beast” will be looking to salvage what has been a difficult year when he takes on Spivak in the main event of UFC Vegas 65.

Last year saw Lewis score two knockouts wins and battle Ciryl Gane for the UFC’s interim heavyweight title, but the 37-year-old has been stopped by Tai Tuivasa and Sergei Pavlovich in his last two fights. If “The Black Beast” were to come up short at UFC Vegas 65, it would establish the longest losing streak of his MMA career.

What do you make of Lewis’ comments on the recent passing of Anthony Johnson?