Interview with Heavyweight Mixed Martial Artist Vernon Lewis. Met the guy while he was competing in Seguin, TX a while back. Here we talk MMA, last minute bouts, and coming off an impressive victory. He will be stepping back inside the cage at Premiere Fight Series in Fort Worth, TX/March 2nd. Let’s get started!
sPidA: Your last bout was a last minute fight, what made you jump inside the cage and where are you training?
Lewis: Yeah, It was an 8 day notice fight. I had a fight scheduled a month earlier, but my opponent backed out last minute so I was somewhat in shape. Had a little too much turkey and dressing during the holidays but I was ready for a fight.
sPidA: What promotion was this for and what were your thoughts on the event?
Lewis: It was for STFC (South Texas Fighting Championship). I was blessed to have the opportunity to fight in front of the McAllen, TX crowd and would fight there again. Even on an 8 day notice…LOL
sPidA: You are coming off of a submission victory, was this part of your game plan going into your last bout?
Lewis: Well I would of love to get a KO but he was a Division I wrestler. I knew I was better standing and on the ground so where ever the fight went I was comfortable.
sPidA: You study BJJ under the Relson Gracie lineage, was signing up for BJJ an easy task for a big guy like yourself? Is using technique rather than strength an easy transition?
Lewis: I’ve been doing No Gi grappling since 2006 so rolling in the Gi was a challenge for me. In the beginning I was getting tapped by guys that have only been training for a year, so it was a humbling experience for me. I love training in the Gi now. It has helped my No Gi game, and I even won 1st place in the Relson Gracie Tournament held in Waco, TX last year. I train in the Gi at least twice a week, even while I’m getting ready for a fight. As far as using my strength, we have some big guys at our gym so my mount escape has to be a little bit more technical than just pushing and bridging.
sPidA: What rank are you and who is your instructor?
Lewis: I’m a blue belt under Relson Gracie, and I train under Chris Spicer at the Relson Gracie Waco Academy. It’s a young gym, but we are growing every day.
sPida: This next bout you have coming up will be for Premiere Fight Series in Forth Worth, TX. Who is your opponent and does fighting away from home get easier over time?
Lewis: My opponent is James Hubbard. We will put on a show for the Fort Worth fans. I can’t wait.. I really don’t see this as fighting away from home. Waco is about an hour away, and I’m just glad I’m fighting in Texas. During my amateur career I couldn’t find fights in Texas, so most of my fights were in the bordering States. Fighting in Fort Worth will feel like fighting at home.
sPidA: What were you doing before jumping into MMA? Did you ever think you would be stepping inside the cage?
Lewis: I was working and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I needed to get in shape, so I started training at an MMA gym. After a few months some of the guys there told me that I was pretty good, and asked me if I wanted to fight. Five months later I had my first amateur fight.
sPidA: Since making your Pro debut in 2010, you have fought once in 2011 and once in 2012. Are you looking to stay busy this year?
Lewis: I always want to stay busy, but my opponents, unfortunately, have been backing out. I decided to stay busy by getting into professional boxing in 2011. Boxing wasn’t what I wanted to do, but at least I had something to look forward to. I’m hoping that 2013 will be the year that I can make a name for myself in the sport of MMA!
sPidA: If you had an opportunity to fight a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, who would it be and what would be your game plan?
Lewis: Randy Couture. He’s a legend. I look up to him because he was on top around the time I started training. My game plan would be not get beat up against the cage…LOL
sPidA: Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to talk with us. Is there anybody you’d like to thank ?
Lewis: I want to thank my family for supporting me on this journey, my training partners for pushing me in the gym, and I want to thank God for blessing me with a life that allows me to do what I love to do.