UFC's Derrick Lewis beating everyone he can, saying anything he wants

Talking has its perks in the UFC, and Derrick Lewis knows it.

"This is my third main event, so it does matter," Lewis said.


The sixth-ranked heavyweight who's set to fight No. 7 Mark Hunt on Saturday in a 7 p.m. Fox Sports 1 card from Hunt's home country of New Zealand was last seen questioning the manhood of Ronda Rousey's heavyweight boyfriend, Travis Browne, and asking about the dating availability of the former bantamweight champion herself.

Now, as Texas' Lewis (18-4) stands poised to make a sudden rise through his division's rankings, he returns with more startling words.

"I don't care if I get the title fight or not," Lewis said. "That's not my main goal. If it ends up happening, that's great, but my main goal is to make as much money as I can."

Lewis has reason to feel emboldened by taking the bold, unfiltered approach. He said he recently renegotiated a six-fight contract with the UFC and was given the exact dollar figure he requested, without ever being scolded about his post-fight comments on Browne or Rousey.

The UFC did, however, edit out Lewis' post-fight talk criticizing Browne for "putting his hands on women," while asking about "fine" Rousey.

"I'm a man. I don't like for someone to tell me what I can and cannot say," Lewis said. "Some of [Browne's] fans said something, but in the UFC, no one said anything. To me, [other fighters] might be, 'Oh, [talking like that] is a big deal.' To me, it's really what I say it is.

"I'm really just fighting for the money, not to get my name out there. I don't care if people forget about me next week. I don't care to be remembered in this sport at all. I don't care about none of this. It's all about money."

The best way to cash in is to continue an ascent that has included six consecutive victories, and while a trilogy fight between former champion Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem at UFC 213 on July 8 could give heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic his next opponent, Lewis can insert his creative voice into the proceedings by defeating Hunt.

"It doesn't make sense," Lewis said of letting the Werdum-Overeem winner fight Miocic next.

"He's already knocked both of those guys out, so it's pointless to give them a title shot. If anything, it should be [former champion] Cain [Velasquez] who should be next, but he just can't stay healthy. We'll see.

"But there ain't no way this [fifth-rated Frenchman] Francis [Ngannou] guy should get a title shot before I do. Hopefully, they give it to me and we can make some money off it.

"That's why I want the tough fighters. Whenever it's time to renegotiate, they can't say, 'This guy hasn't fought anyone.'"

The benefit of a Hunt victory would be Lewis' ability to say he ventured far to the veteran's homeland to defeat him.

"We'll see who has the best gas tank," Lewis said. "That's who wins the fight."


Twitter: @latimespugmire