Darren Stewart says speed will prevail in UFC 238
CHICAGO – British middleweight Darren Stewart left the arena after his last fight frustrated after losing a split decision to Edmen Shahbazyan at the TUF 28 Finale last November. Then that frustration continued when his planned return on home soil fell through.
Now, after a longer-than-wanted layoff, Stewart (9-4 MMA, 2-4 UFC) returns to action at UFC 238, where he faces fellow striker Bevon Lewis (6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in a middleweight bout on the night’s preliminary card.
Looking back at his last fight, Stewart said he was left nonplussed after losing a decision in a fight some observers later told him they thought he won.
“Everyone says I won the fight I lost a decision,” he told MMA Junkie at Thursday’s media day in Chicago. “I don’t like the scoring system in MMA – it needs to change. If you’re on your back and the guy isn’t doing anything, you’re losing. Or if your back’s against the cage and the guy isn’t doing anything, you’re losing. I just don’t know. It’s just mad, man.
“I’ve learned from that fight. If Bevon tries to get me on the cage, I’m off.”
Stewart’s hopes of a fight in London in March scuppered after his opponent pulled out injured and the UFC opted not to rebook him against someone else. But the prospect of a matchup on a numbered pay-per-view event is one that he’s taking as a positive switch.
“I was devastated,” he said. “I’m from London and I wanted to be on the London card. But I can’t dwell on it. It happens for a reason. I like to stay active. I can’t keep doing this five-month, six-month business. Regardless of the result, I’ll go again next month.”
Stewart faces Dana White’s Contender Series alum Lewis, who could provide the Brit with the striker-vs.-striker clash he’s been hoping for.
“I like any matchup,” he said. “A fight’s a fight. That’s why the UFC like me. He’s all right. He’s tall. He’s got a long reach. But everyone he’s fought is always in front of him, so he gets the better of it. No one gives it back. No one moves like I do. I’ve got my movement back. I think I beat him with speed.”
Lewis is coming off a knockout loss to Uriah Hall, but Stewart said he knows the American can pack a punch. But he’s unconcerned with what “The Extraordinary Gentleman” is bringing to the cage Saturday night.
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