Heavyweight is supposed to be the one place in MMA where a fight never gets cancelled on the scales. With an upper limit of 265 lbs, it took all the way until 2021 for the first fighter to miss the limit in the UFC’s then-28-year history. At least one other fighter has followed that inglorious path in the couple years since, but it’s still a terribly rare achievement.
It’s also something that it sounds like almost happened to former UFC title contender Derrick Lewis. The ‘Black Beast’ was on hand for the UFC 291 media day recently, and told a story about one of his weight cuts gone wrong, with frightening results.
Derrick Lewis: ‘I felt like I actually died’ cutting weight
Ahead of his last fight, a heavyweight tilt against rising contender Sergey Spivak, Derrick Lewis apparently had to go through an absolutely harrowing weight cut. The 4oz Fight Club talent told media members that he dropped 25 pounds in the three days leading up to the bout, largely by fasting.
“The last fight, I actually passed out just before weigh-ins,” Lewis revealed (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I blacked out, my coaches had to carry me, make sure I stayed conscious, and I just didn’t have any energy the rest of the week.
“I cut like 25 pounds in three days, not eating, just drinking water—probably just a little something to eat. It was a big eye-opener and it was in the back of my head during the fight. I felt like I actually died, and I was thinking about all of the other fighters who went through that—they blacked out, came back, and couldn’t fight, they didn’t let the fighter fight. Good thing it happened at the [UFC Performance Institute] and they gave me everything I needed to get up and walk out of there. It was a very scary moment.”
While Lewis added that he really wished he could get that fight with Spivak back, this time around it sounds like he feels much more comfortable with his training camp and—by extension—much more sure of his path to victory against Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
“I really believe that on Saturday, I’m going to really have fun out there and you’re going to see something different in me, because I’ve been feeling good. I actually stuck to my diet. We’ve been training for 10, 11 weeks now, and I actually stuck to my diet for like one day, and I feel good.”
Marcos Rogerio de Lima ready to give performance of his career
As good as Lewis seems to feel heading into this fight, his opponent sounds like he’s just as well prepared. With both men holding elder statesman status as long standing members of the UFC roster (and both clocking in at 38-years-old), Marcos Rogerio de Lima nonetheless believes that this is his moment to shine in what would be the biggest win of his career should he walk out of UFC 291 with his hand raised.
“This is going to be a defining moment in the UFC,” Lima revealed in a recent interview. “I’m so ready for this fight. I’ve been training a lot of boxing, muay thai. My grappling is also on point. I’ve been training with Marcus Buchecha, so we exchanged a lot of info. (Augusto) Sakai has been helping me a lot, too.”
UFC 291 goes down on July 29th at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, UT. The card is expected to be headlined by a lightweight top contender’s bout between former interim champions Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. The bout will mark Lewis’ first time on a UFC prelims card since his bout against Damian Grabowski in 2016. A light heavyweight bout between former champions Jan Blachowicz and Alex Pereira will serve as the evening’s co-main event.
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