Aug 9, 2020
UFC Vegas 6 Post Fight Press Conference Transcript: Derrick Lewis KO’s Aleksei Oleinik
August 8 post-fight press conference for UFC Vegas 6, where Derrick Lewis for knocked out Aleksei Oleinik in the second round. Chris Weidman also defeated Omari Akhmedov by unanimous decision. Read the full post-fight press briefing interviews here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Chris, congratulations on the victory. I guess no more answering questions about the losing streak and that sort of thing. What’s the feeling right now to get this victory?
Chris Weidman: (00:21)
Oh man, I got a win 2020. I don’t have to listen to my son tell me that I haven’t had a win since 2017. I said, “2020, baby. You got it dub. Let’s go.”
Speaker 1: (00:32)
Looked like you opened up with a little Steven Thompson karate. Was that the plan to come in there and strike a little bit, or did you know you were going to straight to the wrestling?
Chris Weidman: (00:38)
I really felt great in sparring and stuff, a lot of that different type of motion and movement on the fee. The goal with this one was I knew my bread and butter was the wrestling and take downs. So, the goal is just to kind of stay relaxed and not play too much on the feet. A lot of my fights in the past, I’m winning on the feet and then I got caught just trying to go for it and be exciting. The goal was to try to get to my bread and butter this time as much as possible. It was just such a weird fight, man. It was so sloppy. Every time I got to his legs, it was like I was little bit off, a little bit too low on the leg, or a little bit too high. The weight was just off. It turned into a sloppy fight.
Chris Weidman: (01:18)
When it came down that to third round, I was able to dig deep and come home with a W. Even in the second round, when he was getting to the single leg, I kept going for this new choke I was doing. Every single damn time I was going for it, he fucking just took me down. I’m like, “Damn it, what am I freaking doing? Stop doing it.” I have to get back to my over hook and wrist. I went for it. It was a scrappy fight. I’m just happy to get back inside the octagon and find a way to win. He was strong as hell. He’s a scrappy guy. He hasn’t lost in six fights, so it was good to get out there and start over again in the Middleweight Division.
Speaker 1: (01:56)
I was going to say, it was kind of clear. It looked like you were starting to tire a little bit in the second round. But obviously, you did dig deep. That’s a character check, right? What’s going through your head between rounds two and three? Was there advice? Was there adjustments? What clicked that you were able to dig deep and pull out that last round?
Chris Weidman: (02:11)
I just know it’s a Tough Man contest at that point, who’s tougher. I put myself in those situations from wrestling, and then all throughout my career of pushing through when you’re exhausted in practice. You’re never truly prepared for it. You hit that third round, it’s a close one, and it’s gut check time. You’ve got Lon going in your face screaming, “Let’s go. You’ve got five minutes. Let’s go. What do you got?” You’re never 100% prepared, but you’ve just got to be a tough motherfucker at that point. That’s what I did. I was like, “I got to win. I can’t be the little beotch.” Sorry for all the cursing.
Speaker 1: (02:49)
Obviously, this win is important, but from your tone I take maybe you weren’t happy with the performance, or happy with the way things went?
Chris Weidman: (02:56)
No, definitely that is not a fight that I imagined, to be honest. I always envision wars, and tough times, and pushing through, but that was just… Even in some of my finest moments in that fight, it was sloppy. I really kind of pride myself in being a technician and making things look pretty, and making it look easy. I wasn’t able to do that tonight. But, I do think it was a good step in the right direction. I get to get a W against a tough guy, and I’m excited to get in there with some of these top tier guys in the Middleweight, and really start making a statement.
Chris Weidman: (03:30)
I feel like I’m renewed, and I got a fresh start here.
Speaker 1: (03:33)
All right, it’s the last thing from me. As you said, you’ve got your eyes on top of the division, but where do you go from here? Are you wanting to turn around quickly? Do you want to take some time? Do you have names in mind? What makes sense for you?
Chris Weidman: (03:46)
I’m ready to move pretty damn quick. I’m healthy. I’ve been training pretty damn hard since May, and I feel great. I want to get going pretty damn quick here. We’ll talk to the UFC. I’m moving in this month, so I’ve got to focus on that for the next couple of weeks, and then I’m going to be ready to go. I’m going to stay in shape and be ready to go.
Speaker 3: (04:12)
Chris, to your right. You seem like maybe you didn’t have the explosion or the quickness that you normally did. Did you feel that way? Were you able to get in on as quickly as you normally would be able to?
Chris Weidman: (04:24)
I don’t know about that. I was a little off. A lot of my techniques, when I get to a high crotch, is more finesse than explosion. When I got to his leg and I tried to finesse him down, and then by the time I decided to go into more of an explosion technique of running through on double, he was already a little bit too far away and was able to get his elbows in between us. It was hard to really explode through like I know I can. So, I could see how you saw that. That’s something that I could easily correct.
Chris Weidman: (04:58)
I also feel like on the feet as far as my technique and striking, it was just little off because my goal was to get the take down. As good as I know I am on stand up and what I could do, it was like I really wanted to focus on getting him to the ground and not play that game. I needed to get this W.
Speaker 3: (05:16)
My other question for you is just, what is the mindset mentally when you were the champion on the way up, and you’re undefeated, you’re brimming with confidence, when you’re 1-5, even though you talk about all those losses that you had where you were winning the fights, is there a thing in the back of your mind… The bad person in there nagging at you? Did anybody help you through that mentally?
Chris Weidman: (05:39)
Even when I was coming up and I was Undefeated Champion of the World, I always had the doubts. There’s always self-doubt, and you’ve got to push through. When you start having some losses and you have more criticism on you, it does pile up maybe even a little bit more. That’s the position we put ourselves in, is to be vulnerable, being critiqued. The more pressure, the better. At the end of the day, I truly love to do this. I love to have all that pressure on myself. I love that feeling of being a little scared, and that feeling of wanting to run away from the situation, and then pushing through in those moments.
Chris Weidman: (06:22)
Yeah, it’s good.
Speaker 3: (06:24)
Speaking of that feeling of scared, did you happen to see the main event at all?
Chris Weidman: (06:28)
I actually didn’t. I just know Derrick Lewis won. [crosstalk 00:06:31].
Speaker 3: (06:30)
-Seeing Derrick Lewis come charging out like that. I wonder [crosstalk 00:06:36] thought.
Chris Weidman: (06:35)
What happened? What’d he do?
Speaker 3: (06:35)
In the second round, he stormed out of the corner and landed a big [inaudible 00:06:38] dropped him and finished with ground upon.
Chris Weidman: (06:40)
Speaker 3: (06:40)
Chris Weidman: (06:40)
Nice, he’s a monster. Yeah.
Speaker 4: (06:44)
Just to clarify, in round three I think it was, was that a banana split you were going for?
Chris Weidman: (06:48)
I was going for a banana split, man. I’ve had that in sparring, but some guys when you get to that position, you kind of feel like if they’re going to tap or not, if they have that… Like kind of how their muscle is wired, kind of. Some guys are a little bit more flexible to where you could really pull it, but he was super strong, and his muscles were well put together. Once I started really putting muscle and to spreading his legs apart, I realized you know what, his muscles are well put together. He’s not going to split here. So, I had to find my way and scramble on top. Yeah, I did go for the banana split.
Speaker 4: (07:23)
Would you describe your muscles as well put together? Or is that something for you to work on?
Chris Weidman: (07:27)
No, my muscles are pretty well put together. If he put me in a banana split, I’m not tapping either.
Jim Grieshopper: (07:33)
Chris, Jim Grieshopper, cage-side seat. Congratulations, man. It’s been a long road for you. I just want to talk to you a little bit about that champion’s mindset, because it never leaves, right? You’re always a champion. So, do you feel like more of a champion now to have gutted it out the way you have over these years, not more than you were when you beat Andersen Silva, that’s a little bit ridiculous. But I mean, just in terms of your feeling right now, do you feel almost as much like a champion as you did then with the adversity you’ve overcome?
Chris Weidman: (08:00)
Damn right I’m a champion. I’ve been through so much damn adversity. I’ve had so much critique on me from being the Undefeated World Champion, to never really gain the love or the respect I feel like I deserved when I was on top. Then finally getting knocked down, and then everybody jumping on top trying to kick when I was down, to overcome that is a championship mindset. A big part of me pushing through and continuing to do what I do, and with the confidence I have is to help inspire other people.
Chris Weidman: (08:32)
Life is not going to turn out the way you want all the time, and you’ve got to be able to push through and eff the doubters. Just believe in yourself.
Jim Grieshopper: (08:43)
At your lowest moments, and you’ve had those, and you’ve had the highest of highs too, but at your lowest moments what did you do, what did you say to yourself to keep pushing through because you live a life… You’re a family guy, you’re moving to South Carolina. I don’t know how that’s going to work with a New Yorker, but all the things that you’ve done in your life set you up to where you didn’t have to keep doing this, but something inside you keeps going. Tonight, you get the win, and now you’re going to keep going and try to get that belt back. Can you just talk about what you did in those moments to keep pushing through?
Chris Weidman: (09:10)
I have a great support system. I have a lot of people that truly believe in me: my coaches here, all my corner men, my family. I’m not in this alone at all. If I was, I might have been done a long time ago. I have a lot of people who truly believe in me, and know my potential. I’m not done showing the world what I’m capable of. Yeah, in those moments just don’t back down. Don’t quit. Keep moving forward. It’s not going to be pretty, but just keep moving forward.
Jim Grieshopper: (09:45)
That’s the final one for me, is it was vintage Chris Weidman. It was wrestling, it was grappling, it was dirty, it was nasty, but that’s you man, and you love those kinds of fights, and you proved it again tonight.
Chris Weidman: (09:56)
I appreciate that, man. Thank you.
Jim Grieshopper: (09:58)
All right, congrats Chris.
Chris Weidman: (09:59)
Chris Weidman: (10:03)
Schmo. Ask me something. It better be good too.
Speaker 6: (10:15)
How much did you have to pay Aljamain to be in your corner for this fight? Because I know you were [inaudible 00:10:19] him in his last fight.
Chris Weidman: (10:20)
Yeah, I wasn’t invited. I did say to him before his fight, I was like, “Listen, I am there for you if you need me.” He’s, “I’m good, man. Thanks. I appreciate it.” But to have him in my corner was awesome. I wanted to bring some of that ju-ju he started back when he just fought Sandhagen. I wanted to go across the octagon and just grab him, and throw him on the cage, pull him down in a rear naked choke him within 30 seconds without being punched once. But, it ended up being a pretty damn sloppy fight grind. It is what it is.
Speaker 6: (10:51)
Just to clarify, your back was against the wall, top 15 guy getting the victory against. How important is this win in your career?
Chris Weidman: (10:59)
Yeah, this is huge for me, man. I think this was a big moment for me to come back to the Middleweight Division to go against the guy who’s very tough, and come out with a hard-fought victory. They pushed me right back into the Middle Weight Division where I want to be.
Speaker 6: (11:18)
Chris Weidman: (11:19)
Thank you, Schmo. Thank you, guys. (silence)
Speaker 7: (15:59)
Did you get a chance to take a shit yet?
Derrick Lewis: (16:01)
Not yet. Not yet.
Speaker 7: (16:05)
We’ll keep it brief then for you.
Derrick Lewis: (16:06)
Yeah, come on.
Speaker 7: (16:08)
Listen, that was a big victory over a tough guy, and you got tested, having to go to his world. So, racking up a victory like that, how do you feel after it?
Derrick Lewis: (16:14)
I feel good. He fought just like we thought he was going to fight, the submission defense by him holding my neck like that. That’s what we practiced all week, and really the last two weeks, is we were trying to keep my elbow tucked and turn into him. We’ve seen him do that bulldog choke. You don’t want to get tapped out in nothing like that, so I couldn’t tap.
Speaker 7: (16:39)
I can’t imagine the game plan included any bit of going to the ground and get into a submission battle with him, but you did. Obviously, you were down there for quite a bit. What was going through your head at that time? Was there any panic or concern? Did you feel like you were okay? What was it?
Derrick Lewis: (16:53)
I was wishing there was crowds in the stands, because I was snorting, making funny noises while he choking the hell out my neck. I was like, “Damn, I’m making too much noise. I wonder if they can hear it on TV.” So, I can’t tap like that. I know my kids watching. They’re going to tease me forever.
Speaker 7: (17:11)
You showed some nice escapes, some nice sweeps. You got out of some bad positions. Did you know you had jujitsu skills of that level? Or is this something that just kind of really developed in this camp? Or is this something you’ve always had?
Derrick Lewis: (17:22)
Yeah, I knew I had… I’m one of the baddest Blue Belts in Texas, not in the world. I probably am the baddest Blue Belt in the world, right Joe?
You damn right, and you got a strike.
Derrick Lewis: (17:33)
And I got a strike tonight. So, we’ll see. Keep on underestimating.
Speaker 7: (17:38)
You could tell on that squeeze at the end of the first round man, he was giving it everything he had. His face was grimacing. How tight was it? Were you in danger at all? Was that a tough check for you there?
Derrick Lewis: (17:48)
It was pretty tight. At first, I thought that it said was 30 seconds left. Then I heard 40 seconds left. Then I heard 35 seconds left. I’m like, “Damn.” I start looking at him, then I looked at Herb Dean, then I heard the 10 second clock. I said, “Okay, thank God. Shit.” That was it. I didn’t want to get back in that position again, so that’s why I came back out in the second round and wanted to finish it.
Speaker 7: (18:17)
I would say an incredible finish to start the second round. Were you planning on coming the moment? Did you scout it, like “Hey, I know I can land this leaping knee on him,” or did that just come to you at the time? What was the sequence?
Derrick Lewis: (18:28)
I really wasn’t tired in the second round, so I knew that he was tired because I seen him relaxing his legs on the cage. I was like, “Hold up, what are you doing?” I never seen nobody do that before, so I thought he gave up. I said, “Okay, he doing exactly what my coach said he would do,” gas himself out trying to get a submission. I said, “Okay, he’s gone. So, I just got to pick my shots.”
Speaker 7: (18:52)
Afterwards, you said you’re not going to take another fight until you get down into the 250s, lose a little bit of weight. We always hear that you’ve lost weight. You’re [inaudible 00:19:00] good. Do you really feel the need to get that low before you fight again?
Derrick Lewis: (19:03)
I believe so. I owe it to the fans. I owe it to everyone that supports me. I got to really take it more seriously than what I have been. Then with this COVID, my coach caught COVID, my strengths and conditioning caught COVID. So, it’s like we’ve got to take it more serious. We’re going to just wait and see after the election and stuff like that. Maybe the COVID will go away all of a sudden. We’ll see.
Speaker 7: (19:33)
The last thing for me, what does make sense for you as a next opponent? You’re up at the top of the division. Some people have been saying your name a little bit, but what makes sense for you as a matchup?
Derrick Lewis: (19:44)
Curtis Blaze makes sense. Ngannou makes sense. Overeem makes sense. That’s just about it. We’ll just see what happens next week, and see who else makes since after that match. I for sure had to get down 15-20 pounds to feel comfortable in there. Yeah, you really will see something scary out of me for sure.
Speaker 4: (20:12)
Hey Derrick. You look fairly lean at 265. How much of a lifestyle change is it going to be for you to get down 20 pounds?
Derrick Lewis: (20:20)
I’ve really been eating whatever I want. I’ve just been training a lot longer than 30 minutes this camp. We’ve been just training a lot more, that’s all. I’ve still been eating bad, still be eating Popeye’s and stuff like that, and just been training more.
Speaker 4: (20:35)
Do you anticipate yourself being even more explosive, even more aggressive at a lower weight? Is that why you want to get down there?
Derrick Lewis: (20:42)
Oh, for sure. I will be a lot quicker, a lot more agile, a lot more aggressive in everything.
Speaker 4: (20:48)
I don’t know if you saw that, but you mentioned his name. Curtis Blade’s actually called you out right after the fight. He says he’s got dibs on fighting you next. Is that the sort of guy that you’re interested in? Or would you rather maybe a guy who can meet you on the feet because you’ve just [inaudible 00:21:00] grappler?
Derrick Lewis: (21:02)
No, that’d be perfect to fight Curtis next. All he’s going to do is try to grab me and hold me, and try to win by decision. He’s not going to try to finish me. If he do try to finish me, that’s fine. But, I believe I could take Curtis down and punish him on the ground. Yeah, put that on the headlines. Make the headlines, go ahead. Type it. That’s headlines right there. I’m going to take Curtis Blaze down and finish him.
Speaker 4: (21:24)
Okay, thanks for the headline. [crosstalk 00:21:27]. You gave an impressive list of sponsors at the end of your interview. I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t any that you missed out?
Derrick Lewis: (21:33)
Yeah, I did miss some out, and I appreciate Grindhouse Strength and Conditioning. Main Street, my coach is Jim, and Gracie Baja, I appreciate.
Derrick Lewis: (21:46)
Here’s old Gracie. I appreciate y’all that helped me on the ground and stuff like that. I’m pretty sure I forgot somebody. It’ll come back to me later.
Jim Grieshopper: (22:02)
Derek, Jim Grieshopper, cage-side seat. I just want to ask you… Congrats on the win. What has it been like for you in the COVID era, because obviously you have a lot of people who look up to you too, and you care about your community, you’re always making people laugh. You have to find different ways to train and different ways to prepare, and not knowing with the fights. But being able to be in there and compete, and be in there with people watching who might have some problems, some things going on, to be a role model and to be there just kind of carrying that torch for people and your community.
Derrick Lewis: (22:31)
Going through the COVID, you really got to listen. If they tell y’all to wear a mask, wear a mask. They’ll tell you you can’t come into this facility or whatever without wearing a mask, or touching people. Stay six feet apart. Just do it. Me dealing with this, it’s like I just have been listening to whatever they tell me to do because of my kids. It’s like God forbid if anything happen to my kids, my wife, my family and stuff like that, if I get them sick by me being stubborn, then I’ll be pissed for sure.
Jim Grieshopper: (23:05)
Being a guy who came into the fight game trying to be a boxer, now you have the most knockouts in UFC Heavyweight history. Did you ever think you’d be there? What does it feel like to know that you came in, and you’ve accomplished that already?
Derrick Lewis: (23:17)
Yeah, and it’s crazy. I still can’t believe that I got the most knockouts. I don’t know, it’s just a crazy feeling, because all the great Heavyweights before me, like Shane Carwin just knocking everybody out in the first minutes of the fight, and watching Brock Lesner and Cane Velasquez, all those guys for all these years, then seeing that they never had accomplished what I did, I just really be humble about it. I got to keep on going, because I still got a lot left in the tank.
Jim Grieshopper: (23:52)
What are you going to do these next couple of weeks? Any celebrations? Any trips? Anything like that?
Derrick Lewis: (23:55)
We’re going to go to Austin, and probably buy a deer lease up there. I don’t know if you’re a hunter or not like that. I’m interested in buying a couple hundred acres in Austin, Texas.
Jim Grieshopper: (24:17)
Derrick Lewis: (24:17)
Jim Grieshopper: (24:17)
I appreciate it.
Derrick Lewis: (24:19)
Good night. Appreciate it. Yeah, Monster don’t sponsor me. We tried to reach out to them to try to sponsor me before the DC fight. I couldn’t get no call, no show. So, that’s the reason why I didn’t have Monster up there. Shout out to Bang. If Bang want to sponsor me, holler at your boy. Swang and Bang, baby. I’m out.