Derrick Lewis Reflects On His Journey To The Top

UFC News

Looking back, the quiet heavyweight acknowledges that being denied parole and forced to spend more time in that environment was ultimately a positive thing, as it forced him to address the anger he carried inside and decide whether he wanted to spend the remainder of his life as a member of the prison population.

“I grew up without a father and I didn’t know what being a man was all about,” said Lewis, a proud father of three. “I went through that situation that I went through and it taught me how to look at life a whole different way, to appreciate a lot of different things.

“I’m not a people person — I like to be by myself — and being around all those people all the time, making all the noise, I hated it. As soon as one person makes trouble, they were trying to punish all of us. Being around other men like that and getting talked to crazy, getting talked to disrespectfully, doing the same thing every day, the same routine every day — the food, not being able to do what you want — I told myself I was never going to go through that again.”

Upon getting released, the initial interest he had in boxing as a teenager transitioned to a focus on mixed martial arts, but not for the reasons many ascribe to individuals chasing a dream of competing in the UFC.

“I can’t get a real, decent-paying job like everyone else,” said Lewis, whose record significantly limited his employment opportunities, “but now I’m living the lifestyle that I always wanted as a little kid.

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