Australian cult hero Tai Tuivasa isn’t fazed by his growing stardom in the UFC – and it was on show once again during his post-fight press conference.
After knocking out Derrick Lewis and recording the biggest win of his career at UFC 271, the 28-year-old is now expected to rise up the ranks and become a leading man in the heavyweight division.
Tuivasa is now on a five fight win-streak, all of which have come via knockout, and his victory over the No.3-ranked Lewis will garner plenty of attention.
But ever the honest fighter, “Bam Bam” said he isn’t bothered by the public perception and will continue to stay true to himself – even against the best fighters in the world.
“I don’t really mind being the guy who drinks piss out of shoes and this and that, I suppose everyone focuses on all of that,” he said at the post-fight press conference. “At the end of the day, I am knocking the best in the world out – that’s up to you or whoever to take that however.
As far as what is next for Tuivasa, he discussed taking some time to focus on his family. It is expected he will have plenty of matchups offered to him by UFC brass.
“I’ve got a great team around me now, guys who have the best interests for me, and we’re doing alright.
I’m having a bit of a rest, my son just started school. I’ll go to Cancun, I heard there’s some nice beaches there, and then I’ll go do some daddy drop-offs. After that, I will regroup with my team and we’ll go from there.”
“To be honest, I don’t even know who the f— is in the top five. I don’t even watch fighting – I heard there’s the Stipe’s and Cyril Gane’s and everyone up there, but this is my job.
“I rock up, I prepare with my team and we f—ing punch on.”
Tuivasa’s professional record now sits at 15-3, with his last defeat coming at the hands of Sergey Spivak well over two years ago.
The massive knockout win over Lewis, which culminated with a ferocious elbow and his opponent faceplanting on the canvas, didn’t come without its challenges however.
Tuivasa admitted he was surprised by Lewis’ wrestling tactics and was also hit with some heavy blows by the heavyweight division’s knockout king.
“It was definitely a surprise, but this is MMA and this is the sport,” he said.
“We had a bit of a swang and bang, but we had a bit of a wrestle as well. I’m a wrestler from way back, it was good – it showed a bit of adversity, that’s a big word – was that the right word? I showed a bit of that and there we go, we did good.
“I got a few bumps on the head, that’s for sure. I didn’t feel like I was in too much danger, but he is the knockout king and he’s got heavy hands, he’s a f—ing big boy, so I definitely felt them.
“This is fighting, that’s the assignment and that’s our job. I know he is in there to take my head off and I’m out there to do the same thing. He has the accolades, but as I said – he has had his time and I think this is the passing of the torch. If I keep doing what I’m doing and keep focusing on what I need to focus on, I will one day take over.”
The proof of Tuivasa’s consistent personality both inside and outside of the cage was on show during the presser, when he was able to talk UFC President Dana White into doing his famous ‘shoey’.
Bam Bam praised his boss for downing the beer and said it capped off a huge night in his career.
“He was fine, he downed the whole thing too – he did well,” Tuivasa said. “I feel good – even better that the boss did a shoey. It’s a win-win for me, I did well.”