The art of selling a fight is the art of creating a narrative. Whether it’s about honor, revenge, family, national pride, or some long forgotten incident in the past, selling the story is the key. When Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov fought, they created a narrative of warring factions; camps driven by national pride, ethnic tension, and a necessary score to settle.
Derrick Lewis is taking a slightly different route.
The ‘Black Beast’ finds himself suddenly preparing to fight UFC heavyweight (and light heavyweight) champion Daniel Cormier in less than one month’s time – having only just recently bested Alexander Volkov via a shocking 3rd round comeback KO. After the win, Lewis chided Joe Rogan for talking about a potential title shot, saying instead that he needed to sit his ‘black ass down and do some more cardio’, and that he ‘ain’t trying to fight for no title right now, having a gas tank like that.’ Nonetheless, with UFC 230 badly in need of a notable main event, he’s getting his shot at the belt.
So, to usher in this unexpected opportunity, Lewis took the chance to get out ahead of the UFC marketing team and release his own promo (created by MMA World) for the Madison Square Garden event. The promo drew on a conversation Lewis had with DC ahead of Cormier’s fight with Stipe Miocic, including the UFC 226 presser where words were exchanged.
The disrespect Lewis spoke of, stems from a 2015 music video Daniel Cormier made, called ‘All About That Cake.’ Clearly, the gauntlet has been laid.
Hopefully – and despite the obviously high tensions – this too doesn’t spill over into the kinds of unnecessary violence, born of deep seated animosity, that rivalries like Khabib vs. McGregor and Cormier vs. Jones turned into.
UFC 230 takes place on November 3rd in New York City, NY. The event is expected to be headlined by the heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis. Previously announced bouts between Nate Diaz & Dustin Poirier and Valentina Shevchenko & Sijara Eubanks have been pulled from the card.