Considering how far he’s come in just a couple years, you’d never have guessed that top Texas heavyweight prospect Derrick Lewis had virtually no background in combat sports prior to getting involved in MMA.
“I don’t even know that guy,” says Lewis, looking back on his early fights. “It was so embarrassing to watch. Even the fights that I won, I could have lost those fights because I didn’t know as much technique as I know right now.
“(Without) some submissions or a couple combos I know right now, I could have lost at least half of those fights that I won.”
Lewis, in particular, feels his ground game has improved since he started fighting two years ago.
“If I get taken down, I get right back up,” he said. “I’m not letting my opponent lay and pray on me.”
Lewis’ developing ground game could be a big determining factor in his upcoming fight, as he headlines Legacy FC 13 in Dallas on Friday night, live on AXS TV, against Jared Rosholt.
“Since my loss to Tony Johnson this is a pretty good (opportunity) to see if I’ve improved or not on my takedown defense and how I can handle a wrestler with the background (Rosholt) has,” said Lewis.
“I feel like he’d be a fool to try to stand up with me. If he tries to stand up with me, he’s crazy; so I’m prepared for him to try to take me down.”
While a win on a nationally televised live event would be huge for Lewis’ career, there’s more on the line than just money or glory; he’s fighting for something far more important to his personal life.
“This will be the last chance for my grandpa to be in attendance (at one of my fights),” said Lewis.
“I was going to (Kilgore) College before I got locked up in prison and all of that, and he was coming to all my (football) games and I feel like I let him down by getting into trouble. And now he has cancer, and the doctors say he probably won’t make it this year, so I feel I owe this to him right here and let him know he can still be proud of me.”
Lewis continued, “That’s why I feel like with this fight being on TV and all of that, I’m not even worried about it.”
With a chance to take a big step forward in his career, and with so much riding on the line to him personally, Lewis feels Friday night’s fight is going to be explosive and fans shouldn’t miss his bout with Rosholt at Legacy FC 13.
“It’s going to be exciting; win, lose or draw,” he said. “I’m going to give it my all, like it’s my last fight ever, like my life is on the line. I’m going to give it my all.”