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Daniel Cormier insists he can see through Derrick Lewis' facade as he prepares to fight him for the heavyweight title at UFC 230 on Saturday night.
Lewis defeated Alexander Volkov at UFC 229 with the 33-year-old knocking out his opponent in the dying seconds of the fight and he has had just four weeks to prepare for Saturday's bout in New York.
His post-fight interview at UFC 229 went viral resulting in 'The Black Beast' gaining thousands of new followers on social media, but Cormier believes behind the public persona is a clever fighter who is trying to trick his opponents.
"I believe he trains a lot harder than [he says]. I believe he’s not really as hurt as he pretends to be when he’s against the side of the Octagon," Cormier said.
"Derrick is a little smarter than you guys think. But the problem is he’s smart in a way that you learn when you grow up in urban areas. He’s kind of got a little more street smarts. But I grew up in those same places. I can see through his facade.
“He’s not a dummy. This guy knows what he’s doing. He’s trying to trick us all, but don’t think that Derrick Lewis is some ignorant guy.”
Cormier has been working hard to get to know Lewis ahead of Saturday's fight and he believes he will be a very tough opponent to overcome.
"I know everything about everybody that I fight. I learn, I research them. They become my focus, they become my life for the time I’m training for them," he explained. "I know everything about Derrick. And when learning about Derrick Lewis, I didn’t think, ‘Oh, this is gonna be an easier fight.’
"All it made me believe was that it was gonna be tougher than people or the general public may believe. All it made me understand is that him knocking out Alexander Volkov wasn’t the exception — it was his expectation.
"Because he has fought from the very pits of hell and he scraped his way back up to who he is today. So him winning a fight with 15 seconds left, that doesn’t surprise me. This guy won the biggest fight in the world by doing and changing his life path.”
Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis go head-to-head for the UFC Heavyweight title at UFC 230 in New York on Saturday, 3 November live on BT Sport on the eir sport pack. Subscribe here
Image: Getty Images/Sam Wasson