3 fighters we'd like to see Derrick Lewis face next

Derrick Lewis is coming off a big win at UFC St. Louis and has several interesting match-ups ahead of him.
Derrick Lewis
Derrick Lewis / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
1 of 3

Derrick Lewis (28-12) capped off UFC St. Louis with a heavy third-round knockout victory over Rodrigo Nascimento (11-2) in the main event. The win likely helped Lewis keep his No. 12 heavyweight ranking against his No. 15 ranked challenger. Lewis extended his UFC all-time knockout record to 15 total. He also re-established his standing as a heavyweight stalwart. He can still hold off the next generation of talent despite being 39 years old.

Lewis declined to call any fighters out in his post-event media interviews. After being pressed immediately after his victory by UFC commentator Michael Bisping for a potential future opponent to call, "What you talkin' bout? I'm gonna sit my black a*s down for a sec...I don't know."

Despite Lewis's hesitancy to name names, heavyweight is rife with potential opportunities. He is a certified main-event draw and one of the most entertaining fighters on the UFC roster. Plenty of future fights make sense for hias he looks to elongate his UFC tenure.

1. Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Jairzinho Rozenstruik (14-5) is one of the only top UFC heavyweights Lewis hasn't stepped into the Octagon with yet. Rozenstruik and Lewis could combine for quite an interesting fight considering that both men are dangerous knockout artists. They each have fan-friendly striking styles and are unlikely to grapple. The biggest reason to make this fight is that only one spot separates them in the rankings. Rozentruik sits ahead of Lewis, occupying the No. 11 seat.

Both fighters are coming off victories in their latest contests. Rozenstruik finished the surging Shamil Gaziev (12-1) in their UFC Vegas 87 main event. This win showed Rozentruik is still a capable heavyweight competitor and poised him for bigger future fights. The 36-year-old continues rounding his game out as an MMA fighter and has a lot of exciting matches left against opponents he's yet to test himself against.

One of the biggest possible heavyweight matchups is between Rozenstruik and Lewis. Though he didn't call Lewis out directly after his UFC Vegas 87 victory, Rozenstruik indicated his interest in facing him in the post-fight press conference saying, "There are a couple names I didn't face yet...Derrick (Lewis)..." Though this would technically be a step back for Rozenstruik, beating Lewis is still a huge accomplishment considering the latter's legendary status.

Whether this fight happens or not depends on Lewis's willingness to accept. He was coy about indicating his next move. When asked about his Octagon run thus far and where he thinks things are heading for his next fight during his post-fight press conference, Lewis said, "How many more I got on my contract? I got six so..."

If the timing works out and both men agree to fight, this could be an exciting heavyweight matchup between two of the most powerful forces in the division's history. Rozenstruik's clean kickboxing background contrasted with Lewis's technical brawling could produce a classic heavyweight contest.