Derrick Lewis focused more on improvement than title contention at UFC on ESPN+ 32

LAS VEGAS —Derrick Lewis’s goal Saturday night is quite simple: The UFC heavyweight contender is focused on showing a new version of himself to fight fans, rather than building towards title contention.

Lewis (23-7 MMA, 14-5 UFC) headlines Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 32 event in Las Vegas. “The Black Beast” takes on veteran Aleksei Oleinik in a five-round contest.

Having taken care of some health issues which hindered his recent performances, Lewis is excited to showcase a new version of himself.

“This fight right here takes me to a new level,” Lewis told reporters, including MMA Junkie during Thursday’s UFC on ESPN+ 32 virtual media day. “I’m feeling completely different in fight week than I have in the past. I’m just getting better. I really want to show the fans and show everyone that I have gotten better.”

Lewis is currently on two-fight winning streak. He last competed in February, where he defeated Ilir Latifi via unanimous decision. A win over Oleinik (59-13-1 MMA, 8-4 UFC) could put Lewis in the title contention mix, considering he’s already in the top five of the division’s official rankings.

However, Lewis title aspirations are taking a back seat for now.

“It really just needs to be a dominant performance just so it can keep me in line because Francis (Ngannou) and the dude (Curtis) Blaydes, they might get a title shot before me. So we’ll just see how everything goes from there. I’m not really focusing on the title.”

UFC on ESPN+32 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streams on ESPN+. 

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