Tai Tuivasa didn’t plan to return to the octagon so soon. After picking up his fourth straight knockout win, the main item on his agenda was drinking.
But after a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, he said UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard got the idea to put him back in against a big name, Derrick Lewis. And just like that, it was time to sober up.
On Saturday, Tuivasa and Lewis co-headline UFC 271, which takes place on Lewis’ home turf of Houston at Toyota Center (and falls on the week of his 37th birthday). On Wednesday, Tuivasa waxed on a variety of topics, from the offer to fight Lewis to his thoughts on Kevin Holland’s recent schooling of an internet troll.
How the Lewis fight came together:
“I continued to drink after I talked to you, and apparently Mick messaged me that night,” Tuivasa said. “I was too pissed, and then I woke up in the morning and everyone was calling me.”
“I was getting pissed. I was in my holiday mode. I was going to continue the holiday for a little bit, but like I said, it’s a big opportunity, and I’m a big fan of Derrick as well. Why not? If it’s popped up, might as well grab it with two hands.
On flying from Dubai to Houston nonstop in business class:
“I get my flights. I look after myself. I always sit in business. I can’t sit at the back. I’m too big. I don’t want to sit in economy, so I get my own.”
The most post-fight beers he’s ever had:
“I wouldn’t know. A few. Oh yeah, [over 20]. Easy. I’ve never counted, but I reckon it’d be up there. I probably did 15-20 before I talked to you [in the previous interview].”
“He did well. It was a little more boring than I thought it would be. But he f*cking did good. He wrestled.”
The possibility of welcoming former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to the heavyweight division:
Count me in. I’ll jump in against Jon Jones.
“He’s a c*cksucker. I don’t know what he’s on about. If he wants it again, he can come see me. I’ll slap the sh*t out of him again. ... So many people hate him. He’s f*cking hated. I uust heard he did some sh*t in the past, but it’s real evident that he’s hated - a lot of people hate his ass.”
How he chooses his unusual walkout music:
“Mainly, it’s the songs I listened to with my mom. A lot of them were when I used to drive around with my mom. They’re all songs I listened to on a daily basis.”
What he thinks about Kevin Holland’s recent video of a grappling session with an internet troll.
“I couldn’t do that. I would have ended up bashing him.”